Invasion and establishment of Ceratium furcoides (Dinophyceae) in an urban lake in Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Ceratium furcoides has received attention due its invasive behavior in South America and consequent alterations in local phytoplankton communities. Pedalinhos Lake had been dominated by chlorophytes until 2015, when the first occurrence of this dinoflagellate was detected. In order to investigate the colonization process of this species, we monitored the meteorological variables and phytoplankton abundance of this urban lake on a weekly basis from September 2015 to September 2018. At the beginning of the invasion process (Year 1), a peak density of 10,170 ind.mL-1 was recorded, with a significant decrease to 23 ind.mL-1, indicating an initial, unstable process of adaptation, with notable oscillation and reduction of cyanobacterial blooms. At this time, abundance of C. furcoides revealed inverse correlations with cyanobacteria, temperature, and insolation. In Year 2 there were a stabilization of the density of C. furcoides accompanied by increased cell size. Year 3 (starting in September 2017) was again marked by oscillations in the density of this dinoflagellate. This study contributes to improved understanding of the adaptation process of this dinoflagellate in an invaded environment and its effects on the local phytoplankton community.