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The ecology of the crustacean zooplankton in glacial lakes of northern and central Patagonia

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Chapter Summary

The northern and central parts of Patagonia have numerous large and deep lakes of glacial origin, which are originally oligotrophic and accommodate assemblages of crustacean plankton characterized by the dominance of calanoid copepods instead of a predominance of daphniid cladocerans, and by low species richness. However, due to current anthropogenic intervention, a transition from oligotrophy to mesotrophy has been observed, with, as a consequence, the predictable alterations in zooplankton assemblages, i.e., a specific increase in the abundance of daphniids and an increase in numbers of species. The descriptions of Chilean lakes agree with those of Argentinean and New Zealand lakes, whereas they are markedly different in comparison to Northern Hemisphere lakes that have a dominance of cladocerans and higher numbers of species.

Keywords:calanoid copepods; Chilean lakes; crustacean plankton; glacial lakes; New Zealand lakes; Patagonia; zooplankton

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