Ecology of Four Turbid Clay Pans During a Filling-Drying Cycle in the Paroo, Semi-arid Australia
The clay pans studied were small (<2 >ha), shallow (<30 >cm) and contained very turbid, alkaline water of low conductivity for 40-90 days. Nutrients peaked early but chlorophyll-a values varied through time. Water temperatures ranged from 3.5 to 25.5°C. Cumulative species richness ranged from 30 to 55, with mean momentary species richness varying from 15.5 to 29.1 among the four pans. Macroinvertebrate assemblages were dominated by adult phyllopods, hemipterans and coleopterans, and zooplankton was dominated by juvenile phyllopods, copepods and cladocerans. No macrophytes were present. Ordination showed two pairs of pans (A+B and C+D) which matched ordination of physicochemical data, with turbidity the factor best explaining the pattern. Macroinvertebrate assemblages varied between the centre and littoral zone of all pans, particularly in C and D in which CPOM was more abundant in the littoral. Grouping of assemblages was directed as much by differences in abundance as variation in species composition. Succession was directional and continuous. Among macroinvertebrates, insects dominated initially and terminally, but phyllopod crustaceans were important much of the time. In the zooplankton, phyllopods dominated initially then entomostracans, with final assemblages mostly consisting of copepods. Succession was quicker and later assemblages more stable in zooplankton. The feeding group of filter feeders/collectors dominated during the life of the pans, except at the beginning and end when predators were important. The major carbon source was algal, despite the high turbidity and abundant detrital matter.
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Hancock, M. A., & Timms, B. V. (2002). Ecology of four turbid clay pans during a filling-drying cycle in the Paroo, semi-arid Australia. Hydrobiologia, 479(1-3), 95-107. doi:10.1023/A:1021022700201