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Water 2018, 10(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10020108

Defining Seasonal Functional Traits of a Freshwater Zooplankton Community Using δ13C and δ15N Stable Isotope Analysis

1
National Research Council-Institute of Ecosystem Study, Largo Tonolli 50, 28922 Verbania, Italy
2
Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
3
University of Sassari, Department of Science for Nature and Environmental Resources, Piazza Università 21, 07100 Sassari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract

Functional-based approaches are increasingly being used to define the functional diversity of aquatic ecosystems. In this study, we proposed the use of δ13C and δ15N stable isotopes as a proxy of zooplankton functional traits in Lake Maggiore, a large, deep subalpine Italian lake. We analyzed the seasonal pattern of δ13C and δ15N signatures of different crustacean zooplankton taxa to determine food sources, preferred habitats, and trophic positions of species throughout one year. The cladocerans Daphnia longispina galeata gr., Diaphanosoma brachyurum, and Eubosmina longispina were grouped into a primary consumer functional group from their δ13C and δ15N isotopic signatures, but while the former two species shared the same food sources, the latter exhibited a more selective feeding strategy. Cyclopoid copepods occupied a distinct functional group from the other secondary consumers, being the most 15N enriched group in the lake. The δ15N signature of calanoid copepods showed trophic enrichment in comparison to Daphnia and Eubosmina and linear mixing model results confirmed a predator-prey relationship. In our study, we have demonstrated that the use of δ13C and δ15N stable isotopes represented an effective tool to define ecological roles of freshwater zooplankton species and to determine functional diversity in a lake. View Full-Text
Keywords: functional diversity; zooplankton; seasonality; stable isotope analysis; trophic interactions functional diversity; zooplankton; seasonality; stable isotope analysis; trophic interactions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Visconti, A.; Caroni, R.; Rawcliffe, R.; Fadda, A.; Piscia, R.; Manca, M. Defining Seasonal Functional Traits of a Freshwater Zooplankton Community Using δ13C and δ15N Stable Isotope Analysis. Water 2018, 10, 108.

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