African Journal of Aquatic Science

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Temporal dynamics and relationship between climate, limnological variables and zooplankton composition in climate-sensitive Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana

P.O. Sanful, S. Aikins, E. Frempong, R.I. Hall, R.E. Hecky


The community composition and the factors affecting seasonal and interannual dynamics of zooplankton in Lake Bosumtwi were studied biweekly at a central index station during 2005 and 2006. The lake zooplankton community was species poor.  Mesocyclops bosumtwii was numerically superior seasonally and interannually and was endemic to the lake. Minor constituents included Moina micrura, six rotifer species (except for Hexarthra intermedia) and Chaoborus ceratopogones larvae. Low variance of cyanobacteria-dominated phytoplankton biomass underlined stable zooplankton community structure. Emergence of rare species of rotifers occurred seasonally. The climatic signature on the lake’s stratification and mixing regime was strongly influenced by atmospheric temperature, but weakly by wind strength, because of sheltering of the lake by high crater walls. Increasing mixing depth entrained high TP concentrations from below the thermocline seasonally, but reflected poorly in the phytoplankton biomass behaviour. Total zooplankton  abundance did not differ seasonally, but varied markedly from year to year in its timing and  magnitude. Herbivores were squeezed between food limitation and high predation pressure from Chaoborus all year round. The low fish planktivory (high fishing pressure) on Chaoborus may create a trophic bottleneck restricting energy transfer efficiency from zooplankton to fish.

Keywords: abundance, copepods, herbivores, Mesocyclops bosumtwii, mixing, seasonal, tropical
AJOL African Journals Online