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Fasting or feeding: A planktonic food web under lake ice

Abstract : Zooplankton can spend winter actively under the ice cover of lakes. However, dietary resources under lake ice are both quantitatively and qualitatively limited, and feeding might not be energetically rewarding for most zooplankton species. Many zooplankters are expected to fast throughout the winter, exhausting their previously accumulated fat storage. We hypothesised that only a fraction of the actively overwintering zooplankton contributes to an active food web under lake ice, leading to few trophic linkages within the planktonic community.2. Zooplankton habitats and feeding were investigated under the ice of Lake Onego. Zooplankton habitats and migrations were studied by coupling zooplankton sam-pling around the clock to measurements of particle movement using an acoustic Doppler current profiler. Secondly, fatty acid-specific stable isotope compositions were used to determine whether and which zooplankton fatty acids ultimately came from the assimilation of under-ice seston.3. The algal biomass was low under ice and mostly dominated by large diatoms. Copepods dominated the zooplankton community. Species present as late cope-podite and adult instars were confined to the deeper layers, while nauplii occupied the surface layer. Diel vertical migration by Cyclops was the most tangible ob-servation of persistent feeding under the ice. Previously accumulated fat storage represented most of zooplankton fatty acids, with few, yet detectable, fatty acids recently acquired by feeding under the ice.4. Although some zooplankton taxa maintained feeding activity under the ice of Lake Onego, the food source available beneath the ice was not sufficiently rewarding to leave an isotopic imprint upon the dominant fatty acids of bulk zooplankton. The seston fatty acids that were passed on to zooplankton from feeding under ice were not provided by diatoms, although they made up most of the phytoplank-ton biovolume. Instead, the zooplankton food web was supported by mixotrophic phytoplankton (i.e. cryptophytes and chrysophytes) that represented <5% of the under-ice biovolume. Consequently, the planktonic food web under the ice of Lake Onego had few trophic linkages, and thereby low connectance.5. Environmental conditions under the ice of Lake Onego do not depart significantly from those observed in lakes of similar latitudes. Therefore, low connectance food webs could be relatively common under ice for lakes above 60° latitude. Our meth-odological approach is applicable to other lakes and could thus disclose the vari-ability of under-ice food webs. This would provide a much more complete picture of annual dynamics of food webs in lakes that ice over.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 31, 2021 - 3:10:27 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 2:08:08 PM


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Marie‐elodie Perga, Maria Syarki, Jorge Spangenberg, Victor Frossard, Emilie Lyautey, et al.. Fasting or feeding: A planktonic food web under lake ice. Freshwater Biology, Wiley, 2021, 66 (3), pp.570-581. ⟨10.1111/fwb.13661⟩. ⟨hal-03243272⟩



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