Excessive concentrations of phosphorus are a common feature of hardwater eutrophic lakes in western Canada. Preliminary experimental lime treatment showed that this approach had a great potential to reduce phosphorus content and algal biomass. Therefore, two pairs of experimental and reference lakes were selected for a whole lake lime treatment and monitored for a full year prior to manipulation. This study presents the composition and size structure of the Zooplankton community of the lakes before treatment in order to assess the natural summer and inter-lake variations. Before lime treatment, seasonal means of total Zooplankton abundance and biomass ranged from 17 ± 8 to 127 ± 84 ind. L−1 and from 4 ± 2 to 138 ± 236 mg m−3, respectively. The two experimental lakes (Halftnoon and Lofty) were the richest in Zooplankton while the references lakes (Crooked and Jenkins) were the poorest. A total of 30 Zooplankton species (17 rotifers, 2 calanoids, 4 cyclopoids and 7 cladocerans) were recorded as well as 3 chaoborid species. The composition and size structure of Zooplankton varied between lakes and dates. Rotifers accounted for the majority of Zooplankton abundances (59-91%) while Cladocera (78-99%) or Copepoda (74%) in Crooked lake formed most of the Zooplankton biomass. Summer variations of the Zooplankton groups were described along with changes in size spectra. The temporal variation and the inter-lake differences in Zooplankton structure were discussed in relation to trophy, fish and invertebrate predation, and cyanophyte interactions.

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