Changes in the plankton community following introduction of filter-feeding planktivorous fish


Michio Fukushima, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Onogawa 16-2, Tsukuba 305-0053, Japan. E-mail:


1. We conducted enclosure experiments in a shallow eutrophic lake, in which a biomass gradient of the filter-feeding planktivore, silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Valenciennes, was created, and subsequent community changes in both zooplankton and phytoplankton were examined.

2. During a summer experiment, a bloom of Anabaena flos-aquae developed (≈ 8000 cells mL−1) solely in an enclosure without silver carp. Concurrent with, or slightly preceding the Anabaena bloom, the number of rotifer species and their abundance increased from seven to twelve species (1700–14 400 organisms L−1) after the bloom in this fish-free enclosure. Protozoans and bacteria were generally insensitive to the gradient of silver carp biomass.

3. During an autumn experiment, on the other hand, large herbivorous crustaceans were more efficient than silver carp in suppressing the algae, partly because the lower water temperature (≈ 24 °C) inhibited active feeding of this warm-water fish and also formation of algal colonies. Heterotrophic nanoflagellate and bacterial densities were also influenced negatively by the crustaceans.

4. Correspondence analysis (CA) was applied to the weekly community data of zooplankton and phytoplankton. A major effect detected in the zooplankton community was the presence/absence of silver carp rather than the biomass of silver carp, whereas that in the phytoplankton community was the fish biomass before the Anabaena bloom, but shifted to the presence/absence of the fish after the bloom.