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Effects of juvenile fish predation (Cyprinus carpio L.) on the composition and diversity of free-living freshwater nematode assemblages

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Free-living nematodes are well recognised as an abundant and ubiquitous component of meiobenthic communities, where they serve as a link between microbial production and higher trophic levels. However, the effect of fish predation on nematode assemblages is almost unknown. In this study, the predation effects of the benthivorous juvenile carp (Cyprinus carpio) on nematode abundance, biomass, diversity and species composition in the littoral zone of a natural freshwater pond were examined over 310 days using field enclosures and exclosures. Fish predation altered the abundance and biomass of nematodes, and especially of the dominant species Tobrilus gracilis, Eumonhystera filiformis and Monhystera paludicola/stagnalis. Species richness and species composition, but not the diversity and feeding type of nematode assemblages, were affected by fish predation. Our study provides insights into the food-web ecology of lakes and the first evidence of freshwater fish predation effects on nematode assemblages in a natural habitat.

Affiliations: 1: Animal Ecology, Bielefeld University, Konsequenz 45, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany


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