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The ecology of the crustacean zooplankton in central and southern Patagonian shallow ponds

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Chapter Summary

The central and southern Patagonian plains have numerous shallow pools and lagoons, both permanent and ephemeral, without fish, that make nesting and feeding areas for aquatic birds such as ducks, swans, and flamingoes. The studies on aquatic invertebrates hitherto performed only describe the planktonic crustaceans, but these data already indicate these water bodies to harbour zooplankton assemblages characterized by their high species richness. Some of those species are endemic for southern Patagonia and the sub-Antarctic islands, and there are also widespread species. Calanoid copepods constitute the main dominant group in subsaline water bodies (<12 g/L), whereas in more saline waters the anostracan Artemia persimilis dominates. In some cases, this last-mentioned species can coexist with halophilic copepods, a situation obviously different from that encountered in northern Chilean saline lakes. Viewed in an ecological sense, the ecology of these water bodies is similar to that found in northern Chilean inland waters.

Keywords:Artemia persimilis ; Calanoid copepods; Chilean saline lakes; crustacean zooplankton; ecology; Patagonian plains; shallow pools; sub-Antarctic islands

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