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Water 2017, 9(10), 733; doi:10.3390/w9100733

Effects of Climate, Limnological Features and Watershed Clearcut Logging on Long-Term Variation in Zooplankton Communities of Boreal Shield Lakes

Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Limnologie et en Environnement Aquatique (GRIL), Département de Sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Center for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada
Present address: Institut Maurice-Lamontagne, Pêches et Océan Canada, 850 route de la mer, C.P. 1000, Mont-Joli, QC G5H 3Z4, Canada
Present address: Chief Environment Officer, National Energy Board, Government of Canada, 517 Tenth Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A8, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 25 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Responses of Lakes to Climate Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2129 KB, uploaded 25 September 2017]   |  


In Canada, climate change and forest harvesting may both threaten the ecological integrity of boreal lakes. To disentangle the effects of natural variation in climate and lake environments from those of logging, we evaluated long-term variation (1991–2003) in zooplankton communities of six boreal lakes in Ontario. We monitored concomitantly changes in zooplankton abundance and composition in three undisturbed and three harvested lakes, five years prior and eight years after watershed clearcut logging. We tested the hypothesis that long-term natural variation in climate and lake environments will be more important drivers of zooplankton community changes than short-term impacts of logging. We used space/time interaction tests and asymmetric eigenvector maps to model zooplankton responses to environmental changes and logging. Year-to-year variation in zooplankton abundance and composition were almost an order of magnitude whereas among-lake variation was stable through time. Breakpoints in time series of zooplankton in each lake were not directly related to logging. Climatic and limnological features were the most important drivers of long-term variation in the zooplankton community, shading the effect of logging. These results highlight the need to better understand the pressures exerted by climate change on boreal lake ecosystems in the context of anthropogenic pressure, such as logging. View Full-Text
Keywords: zooplankton; Boreal Shield lakes; climate; lake environments; logging disturbances zooplankton; Boreal Shield lakes; climate; lake environments; logging disturbances

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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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Lévesque, D.; Pinel-Alloul, B.; Méthot, G.; Steedman, R. Effects of Climate, Limnological Features and Watershed Clearcut Logging on Long-Term Variation in Zooplankton Communities of Boreal Shield Lakes. Water 2017, 9, 733.

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