Ringelberg, J. (1997) Two examples of the interplay between field observations and laboratory experiments from 35 years of research with planktonic organisms. Aquatic Ecology, 31, 9-17. ISSN 1386-2588.
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1009984116733
Two studies of complicated ecological phenomena in Lake Maarsseveen (The Netherlands) are presented to illustrate that a combination of field and laboratory analysis might be a successful approach. In the first one, the yearly varying ratio of population abundance of two diatoms, Asterionella formosa and Fragilaria crotonensis during early spring is explained by a combination of abiotic and biotic factors. A fungal parasite blocks population development of the first species at temperatures higher than 3–5 °C . The second species then competes successfully for phosphate and develops a large population. The interaction between Asterionella and the fungus proved to be intricate. Several physiological mechanisms operate together and combined with variable climatic factors makes the prediction of what species will be dominant, impossible. In the second example diel vertical migration of the hybrid Daphnia galeata × hyalina is analysed in the field and the laboratory. Migration is confined to six to seven weeks in June–July when large shoals of juvenile perch are present in the pelagic zone of the lake. These fish exudate a kairomone that enhances the reaction of Daphnia to relative increases in light intensity of dawn. Especially accelerations in rate of relative increases enhance swimming velocity. The extent of enhancement depends, however, on the concentration of the kairomone and on food concentration. A ’Decision Making Mechanism‘ is introduced and the relation between the response mechanism and the adaptive relevance of diel vertical migration is made.Finally considerations about research strategies and the importance of fundamental research are made. It is concluded that the development of limnology and aquatic ecology might be in danger when the present tendency to give prevalence to applied research continues. [KEYWORDS: strategies of plankton research, field observations, laboratory experiments, phytoplankton succession, fungus epidemics, diel vertical migration]
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