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Effect of cadmium level and exposure time on the competition between zooplankton species Moina macrocopa (Cladocera) and Brachionus calyciflorus (Rotifera).

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  • 1Doctoral Programme, Autonomous Metropolitan University, Campus Xochimilco, Villa de Quietud, Mexico City, Mexico.


Competition among zooplankton is a natural phenomenon and often cladocerans are competitively superior to rotifers. However, anthropogenic factors including the release of industrial effluents, may influence this interaction. In this study, we evaluated the effect of cadmium (0.05 and 0.1 mg L(-1) as CdCl(2)) on competition between the cladoceran Moina macrocopa and the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus. Since the release of industrial effluents is generally pulsed, we also exposed the test zooplankton species at different exposure periods (3, 6, 12 and 24 h) to the heavy metal. Regardless of exposure time and the presence of competing species, an increase in concentration of Cd resulted in decreased population growth of M. macrocopa and B. calyciflorus. Regardless of presence of the competing species and Cd concentration, an increase in exposure period resulted in decreased population growth rates of both the zooplankton species. In mixed cultures, in general, M. macrocopa outcompeted B. calyciflorus and completely eliminated it under conditions of high toxicant concentrations and longer exposure time.

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