n African Zoology - Zooplankton and diatoms of temporary and permanent freshwater pans in the Mpumalanga Highveld region, South Africa : research article

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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This paper provides a description of the zooplankton and epiphytic diatom communities of permanent and temporary freshwater pans in the Mpumalanga Highveld region of South Africa. Few studies have investigated the biota of pans in this area, which is seriously threatened by mining and agricultural development. Nineteen pan sites within a 20 km radius covering a wide range of water chemistries were sampled once for zooplankton, epiphytic diatoms and water physico-chemical data in 2009. Collected zooplankton and diatom samples were identified to species or genus level. Many of the zooplankton taxa reported in this study were not recorded in similar pan studies in South Africa and southern Africa. The study revealed a difference among the compositions of zooplankton and diatom communities between temporary pans and permanent pans. Zooplankton found exclusively in freshwater temporary pans included cladocerans ( and ), calanoids ( and ), a cyclopoid () and a rotifer (). Permanent pans were characterized by taxa such as cladocerans ( and ), a calanoid (), cyclopoids ( and ) and rotifers ( and ). The most commonly occurring diatom taxa in temporary pans included taxa indicative of slightly acidic to circumneutral, dystrophic and nutrient-poor waters such as and . Permanent pan assemblages were characterized by taxa typical of saline waters, including and . Species of the genera and were almost totally absent from permanent pans.

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