Distribution and abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates and zooplankton in lakes in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada, Nova Scotia

Christina Nussbaumer, Neil M. Burgess, Russ C. Weeber


As part of the Acid Rain Biomonitoring Program at Environment Canada, we sampled aquatic biodiversity in 20 acidic lakes in 2009 and 2010 in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada and vicinity in Nova Scotia. We established an inventory of current aquatic macroinvertebrate and zooplankton species composition and abundance in each of the 20 study lakes. A total of 197 macroinvertebrate taxa were identified; the number of taxa observed was positively correlated with pH across the 20 lakes. Acid-tolerant taxa, such as isopods, amphipods, trichopterans, and oligochaetes, were common and abundant, while bivalves, gastropods, and leeches were lower in abundance. The number of isopods and amphipods collected was correlated with calcium concentration; a greater proportion of isopods than amphipods were collected from lakes with low calcium and low pH. Taxa with hard, calcareous shells, such as bivalves and gastropods, were not present in lakes with low calcium and low pH, with bivalves occurring only in lakes above pH 4.9. Odonates and ephemeropterans, which were low in abundance, were associated with a wide range of acidity. Coleopteran abundance was positively correlated with concentrations of dissolved organic carbon. A total of 26 zooplankton taxa were collected, but only cyclopoid abundance was correlated with lake pH. Results presented here provide a summary of aquatic biodiversity in lakes in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site and vicinity and provide a baseline for future monitoring as acid deposition continues to affect this acid-sensitive region in Atlantic Canada.


macroinvertebrates; Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada; water chemistry; acidic lakes; zooplankton; Nova Scotia

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v128i1.1545

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