Environmental changes and zooplankton temporal and spatial variation in a disturbed Brazilian coastal lagoon

C W C Branco, B Kozlowsky-Suzuki, F A Esteves
Brazilian Journal of Biology 2007, 67 (2): 251-62
The Imboassica lagoon, located in the Municipality of Macaé (RJ), is separated from the sea by a sand bar, and its surroundings are partially occupied by residential areas. This coastal lagoon has undergone environmental degradation due to sewage input and artificial sand bar openings. The temporal and spatial variation of environmental variables and zooplankton were studied monthly for four years. There were five artificial openings of the sand bar during the period of study, mostly in the rainy season. Besides osmotic changes, these events caused the drainage of the water of the lagoon into the sea, loss of total organic nitrogen, and an increase of total phosphorus. The zooplankton community of Imboassica lagoon included freshwater and marine taxa, holoplanktonic, meroplanktonic and nectobenthonic forms. Polychaeta, Bivalvia and Gastropoda larvae, and the taxa of Rotifera Hexarthra spp., Lecane bulla, Synchaeta bicornis, nauplii of Cyclopoida and Calanoida copepods were considered constant taxa. Distinct zooplankton assemblages were found during zooplankton spatial surveys in oligohaline and mesohaline conditions. The successful zooplankton populations were either favored by the disturbance of the sand bar opening, such as the veligers of the gastropod Heleobia australis, or capable of fast recovery after the closing of the sand bar, during the succession from a marine into an oligohaline environment, such as Hexarthra spp.. Such populations seemed well adapted to the stress conditions usually found in the lagoon due to osmotic changes, column mixing, nutrient input, and high fish predation pressure. Rare species in the community, such as Moina minuta, presented population increases all over the lagoon under oligohaline conditions.

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