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Life histories and distribution of ostracods with depth in western Lake Geneva (Petit-Lac), Switzerland: a reconnaissance study

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Because environmental conditions within a given basin are different for each season and at different water depth, knowledge of the life history and depth distribution of target species is important for environmental and palaeoenvironmental interpretations based on ostracod species assemblages and/or the geochemical compositions of their valves. In order to determine the distribution of species with depth as well as the life history of species from Lake Geneva, a one-year sampling campaign of living ostracods was conducted at five sites (2, 5, 13, 33 and 70 m water depth) on a monthly basis in the Petit-Lac (western basin of Lake Geneva, Switzerland). Based on the results, the different species can be classified into three groups. Littoral taxa are found at 2 and 5 m water depth and include, in decreasing numbers of individuals, Cypridopsis vidua (O. F. Müller, 1776), Pseudocandona compressa (Koch, 1838), Limnocythere inopinata (Baird, 1843), Herpetocypris reptans (Baird, 1835), Potamocypris smaragdina (Vávra, 1891), Potamocypris similis (G. W. Müller, 1912), Plesiocypridopsis newtoni (Brady & Robertson, 1870), Prionocypris zenkeri (Chyzer & Toth, 1858) and Ilyocypris sp. Brady & Norman, 1889. Sublittoral species are found in a majority at 13 m water depth and to a lesser extend at 33 m water depth and include, in decreasing numbers of individuals, Fabaeformiscandona caudata (Kaufmann, 1900), Limnocytherina sanctipatricii, Candona candida (O. F. Müller, 1776) and Isocypris beauchampi (Paris, 1920). Profundal species are found equally at 13, 33 and 70 m water depth and includes, in decreasing numbers of individuals, Cytherissa lacustris (Sars, 1863), Candona neglecta Sars, 1887 and Cypria lacustris Lilljeborg, 1890. The occurrence of Limnocytherina sanctipatricii (Brady & Robertson, 1869) is restricted from late winter to late spring when temperatures are low, while C. vidua, L. inopinata, P. smaragdina, P. similis, P. newtoni and Ilyocypris sp. occur predominantly from spring to early autumn when temperatures are high. Individuals of C. neglecta, C. candida, F. caudata, P. compressa, C. lacustris, H. reptans and Cp. lacustris occur throughout the year with juveniles and adults occurring during the same period (C. neglecta at 70 m, C. lacustris at 13, 33 and 70 m, and H. reptans at 2, 5 and 13 m water depth) or with juveniles occurring during a different period of the year than adults (C. neglecta at 13 and 33 m and C. candida, F. caudata and P. compressa at their respective depth of occurrence). Among the environmental parameters investigated, an estimate of the relationship between ostracod autoecology and environmental parameters suggests that in the Petit-Lac: (i) water temperature and substrate characteristics are important factors controlling the distribution of species with depth, (ii) water temperature is also important for determining the timing of species development and, hence, its specific life history, and (iii) water oxygen and sedimentary organic matter content is less important compared to the other environmental parameter monitored.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Géopolis, 1015-Lausanne, Switzerland


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