Resilience of a zooplankton community subjected to marine intrusion in a tropical coastal lagoon

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One of the main disturbances on Imboassica Lagoon is the occasional artificial opening of its sand bar. Following two such events, two environmental gradients were observed. One was directly related to entry of marine water (salinity gradient); and the other to a decrease in dilution of the nutrient load, because of water level reduction (trophic status gradient). Two stations were sampled. At Station 1, located near the sand bar, salinity increase caused a decrease in the total zooplankton density and a shift in community composition due to a loss of relatively small individuals (i.e. rotifers) and the subsequent entrance of larger ones (i.e. copepods). High diversity was related to salinity increases. At Station 2, located near the mouth of a sewage canal, the total zooplankton abundance and dominance were related to the salinity increase, while the highest richness and the lowest dominance were obtained at a high trophic state. The zooplankton community showed high persistence and resilience, which together with other ecological features in the system, returned to the pre-disturbance state 2 months after the sand bar was closed. Canonical correspondence analysis was a useful tool to assess system resilience.

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