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Microcrustacean assemblages composition and environmental variables in lakes and ponds of the Andean region - South of Chile (37-39° S)

Composição de comunidades de microcustáceos e variáveis ambientais em lagos e lagoas da região andina - sul do Chile (37-39° S)

The zooplankton assemblages in Chilean Patagonian lakes are characterised mainly by their low biodiversity and high predominance of calanoids copepods, a pattern that has been studied for large and deep lakes between 38-51° S, and shallow ponds at 51° S. The aim of the present study was analyse the zooplankton assemblages in different water bodies located in coastal zones, middle valleys and mountain zones between 37-39° S. For this purpose, the following variables were considered: maximum depth, latitude, altitude, chlorophyll-a and species number, and to these variables, a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was applied. A co-occurrence null model analysis was also applied for determining the existence of a random process in crustacean species associations. The results denoted low species richness, and different species associations for studied sites, and the null model analysis revealed the absence of a random process as regulator of species associations. Furthermore, a low species/genera ratio was identified, which denotes low productivity of the studied sites. These results were supported by a PCA analysis which denoted that the main determinant factors are chlorophyll concentration and species number that are directly associated. The obtained results are in agreement with descriptions in the literature for species diversity for lakes of Chilean Patagonia that describes oligotrophy as the main regulator of zooplankton assemblages. Other ecological and limnological topics are discussed in the present study.

lakes; oligotrophy; copepods; cladocerans

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