First Advisor

Richard Petersen

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology






Plankton populations -- Washington (State) -- Mount Saint Helens Region, Freshwater zooplankton -- Washington (State) -- Mount Saint Helens Region, Lakes -- Washington (State) -- Mount Saint Helens Region, Biogeochemistry -- Washington (State) -- Mount Saint Helens Region



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 107 p.)


Eighteen lakes around Mt. St. Helens (MSH) were sampled for zooplankton from September '92 until September '94. Samples were enumerated and identified to the species level in most cases. Standard deviation and t-tests were performed to determine the precision of enumeration methods and replication of duplicate tows. Palatability indexes based upon predator preferences were developed and coupled with length-frequency analyses as indicators of predation pressure. The weighted means of the summer samples were then subjected to cluster analysis in an attempt to categorize lakes with respect to zooplankton community structure. Lastly, the community compositions and abundances of MSH lakes were compared to those in lakes on Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood in an attempt to assess recovery of MSH lakes from the 1980 eruption. Results of analyses indicate the presence of three distinct groups of lakes: 1) A group of lakes with heavy predation resulting in simplified zooplankton communities dominated by Keratella, Ke/licottia, and sometimes cyclopoid species. Predation in these instances can be attributed to extremely high fish or Chaoborus abundance. 2) A second group of lakes characterized by great depth, high transparency, significant abundances of Diaptomus kenai, and moderate to light fish predation. These lakes support balanced zooplankton communities with substantial proportions of Daphnid and calanoid specimens attaining large size. Significant indications of size-specific niche differentiation among the cladocerans are notably absent from these first two groups. 3) A third group consists of lakes which appear to be more productive than the other two groups. This group has higher biovolumes of zooplankton in general, coexistence of several different sized cladoceran species, the highest diversity indices of all the lakes sampled, and moderate predation as indicated by length-frequency analysis. Two conclusions are drawn from the data. First, it appears that predation and primary productivity are both significant factors affecting the abundance and composition of MSH zooplankton communities. Additionally, these data document a significant overlap in zooplankton species in lakes near Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood, suggesting that the zooplankton communities in lakes around MSH have recovered from the effects of the 1980 eruption.


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