The zooplankton of Lake Qarun was studied January–December 2003. A total of 26 species was recorded, amongst which protozoa, primarily ciliophora, were most abundant (79% of the species total), followed by rotifera (13%) and copepoda (8%). The average density ranged from 965–1 452 l–1. The highest density (2 884 l–1) was recorded during April and the lowest density (231/l) in May. Protozoa were represented by 16 taxa. Euplotes, Tintinnopsis and Helicostomella were the most abundant genera (47%, 34% and 16% of the total protozoa, respectively), amongst which eight taxa were recorded for the first time. Rotifera were represented by seven species, with Brachionus and Synchaeta being the most abundant genera (89% and 11% of the total rotifers, respectively). Copepoda were represented by Paracartia latisetosa, which comprised 93% of the total number of adult copepods, Apocyclops banamensis and Mesochra heldti. Lake Qarun is highly eutrophic and is suitable for the ranching of marine fishes, particularly plankton-feeding species which can consume the high quantities of plankton present which otherwise would not be utilised.
Keywords: biodiversity, environmental parameters, Lake Qarun, zooplankton
African Journal of Aquatic Science 2005, 30(2): 195–200