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Use of null models to explain crustacean zooplankton assemblages in North Patagonian lakes with presence or absence of mixotrophic ciliates (38°S, Chile)

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Zooplankton assemblages in Northern Patagonian lakes are characterized by a low species richness and a marked dominance of calanoid copepods. The aim of the present study was to do a null model analysis to explain the composition of the zooplankton assemblages in two North Patagonian lakes. The first aspect to which null model analysis was applied was species co-occurrence, and there the model indicates that the species associations found are not random. The second aspect was niche sharing, and that analysis denotes that the species do not share niches. The third aspect tested was size overlap, and the model there denotes that the species have no size overlap. The results obtained indicate that the sites are relatively homogeneous, which would explain the random effect in species co-ocurrence, whereas the absence of niche sharing is due to the presence of different energetic resources at both sites investigated, which would separate the niche of each species from those of other faunistic elements. Finally, the third application of the null model analysis demonstrates that there is no competition among the species reported upon herein.

Affiliations: 1: 1Universidad Católica de Temuco, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Escuela de Ciencias Ambientales, Casilla 15-D, Temuco, Chile ; 2: 2Núcleo de Estudios Ambientales UC Temuco, Temuco, Chile ; 3: 3Universidad Austral de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnología, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile

4Corresponding author; e-mail:

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