Haupt F, Stockenreiter M, Reichwaldt ES, Baumgartner M, Lampert W, Boersma M, Stibor H
phytoplankton dynamics, Zooplankton, water, Nutrients, growth, carbon, model, lake, 7.3m3, freshwater, plankton towers, Plon, Germany
In many lakes, zooplankton show a distinct diel vertical migration (DVM) behavior, especially during periods of stratification. Excretion products of these zooplankton could potentially cause an upward nutrient transport and consequent nutrient enrichment for phytoplankton in the epilimnion. We quantified the upward transport of phosphorus by the cladoceran Daphnia DVM experimentally by adding a radioactive tracer ((33)P) to the hypolimnion of large indoor mesocosms and measuring tracer accumulation in the epilimnion over time. During the daytime, when all Daphnia were found in the hypolimnion, no phosphorus transport from the hypolimnion into the epilimnion took place. As soon as the Daphnia started their upward migration, around dusk, we observed a continuous increase in phosphorus concentration in the epilimnion. The amount of phosphorus transported was in a biologically meaningful range. Our results strongly suggest that Daphnia vertical migration presents a continuous nutrient supply for the epilimnion.