An increase in nutrient levels due to eutrophication has considerable effects on lake ecosystems. Cladocerans are intermediate consumers in lake ecosystems; thus, they are influenced by both the bottom-up and top-down effects that occur as eutrophication progresses. The long-term community succession of cladocerans and the effects cladocerans experience through the various eutrophication stages have rarely been investigated from the perspective of the early-stage cladoceran community assemblage during lake formation. In our research, long-term cladoceran community succession was examined via paleolimnological analysis in the currently eutrophic Lake Fukami-ike, Japan. We measured the concentration of total phosphorus and phytoplankton pigments and counted cladoceran and other invertebrate subfossils in all layers of collected sediment cores, and then assessed changes in the factors controlling the cladoceran community over a 354-year period from lake formation to the present. The cladoceran community consisted only of benthic taxa at the time of lake formation. When rapid eutrophication occurred and phytoplankton increased, the benthic community was replaced by a pelagic community. After further eutrophication, large Daphnia and high-order consumers became established. The statistical analysis suggested that bottom-up effects mainly controlled the cladoceran community in the lake's early stages, and the importance of top-down effects increased after eutrophication occurred. Total phosphorus and phytoplankton pigments had positive effects on pelagic Bosmina, leading to the replacement of the benthic cladoceran community by the pelagic one. In contrast, the taxa established posteutrophication were affected more by predators than by nutrient levels. A decrease in planktivorous fish possibly allowed large Daphnia to establish, and the subsequent increase in planktivorous fish reduced the body size of the cladoceran community.
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