Side effects of water liming on body size and eggs development of Daphnia species in Lake Orta (N. Italy)

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Life-tables of the Daphnia species (D. longispina and D. obtusa), currently inhabiting the previously acidified Lake Orta, were followed to study the side effects of liming on the demographic parameters (e.g. longevity, body size increment, eggs and new-borns production), of both species. Different media were prepared to simulate the lake water pH's (5, 6 and 7), and copper concentrations (40 μg l-1), before and after liming, using GF/C filtered lake water in such simulation and as a reference medium. The obtained results have shown that, the individuals of D. longispina were only able to survive after the liming and the consequent reduction in copper concentrations. However, due to shift occurred in the different media pH's after liming toward slightly alkaline conditions, no significant variations in body size increment or in eggs and newborns production were detected of this species in the different media (p = 0.38, p = 0.29, p = 0.09 respectively). On the other hand, the effect of the variations in pH on the body size increment of the B. obtusa individuals was marginally significant (p = 0.07). A highly significant (p = 0.002), increase in eggs production by D. obtusa individuals was detected in the different media after the CaCO3 addition. Conversely, a corresponding highly significant (p = 0.0007), decrease in the production of new-borns, accompanied by the degeneration of about 78% of the produced eggs, was detected in the different media after liming. Our results suggest that in Lake Orta the actual irregular abundance of the studied Daphnia species and the eggs degeneration phenomenon, observed in our study, could be largely attributed to the interspecific competition resulting from species-specific sensitivity to the continuous variations in the lake water Chemistry after the liming operation.

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