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A cyanobacterial bloom prevents fish trophic cascades

TitreA cyanobacterial bloom prevents fish trophic cascades
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuteursRondel, C, Arfi, R, Corbin, D, Le Bihan, F, Ndour, EH, Lazzaro, X
JournalFreshwater Biology

1. We experimentally compared the impacts of visually feeding zooplanktivorous fish and filter-feeding omnivorous fish in shallow tropical Dakar Bango reservoir, Senegal. We provoked a cyanobacterial Anabaena bloom under mesotrophic to eutrophic N-limited conditions in 18 enclosures assigned to six Nile tilapia life-stage treatments, at typical biomasses: fishless control (C), zooplanktivorous fry (Z), omnivorous juveniles (O), herbivorous fingerlings (H) and two combinations (OZ, OH). 2. All fish grew well, but as prevalent inedible phytoplankton dampened fish effects, community-level trophic cascades did not occur. Planktivore types acted independently and affected differentially the biomasses of total zooplankton, cyclopoids, nauplii, cladocerans, invertebrate carnivores, large herbivores, colonial cyanobacteria and Chlorophyta. They neither influenced the total biomass of phytoplankton, nor most water chemistry characteristics. Responses were apparently not fish-biomass related. The bloom collapsed synchronously in all enclosures, coinciding with enrichment ending, with a return to clear water within 12 days. 3. Our results support the hypothesis that excess nutrients and prevalent inedible cyanobacteria inhibit the cascading effects of natural biomass levels of both visually feeding zooplanktivores and filter-feeding omnivores. In N-limited meso-eutrophic shallow tropical lakes with predominantly small herbivorous zooplankton, neither the type nor the biomass of planktivorous fish present seems likely to prevent the transient outburst of cyanobacterial blooms. Such fragile ecosystems may thus not sustain a trophic state suitable for drinking water production, unless human impacts are restricted. The generality of restoration approaches based on ecological engineering should be further explored.