Resource competition among the Anostraca Dendrocephalus brasiliensis and three neotropical cladocerans: implications on population dynamics and secondary production.
Invasive species may affect the equilibrium of natural communities, competing for resources and occupying niches of the native biota. Dendrocephalus brasiliensis (DEN) has potential to aquaculture, although its use is concerning, since DEN is allochthone in some regions of Brazil. Here, we aimed to study the possible effects of DEN on three cladocerans Moina micrura (MOI), Macrothrix flabelligera (MAC) and Daphnia laevis (DAPH). We performed microcosm experiments combining different cladoceran species in mono- and polycultures in the presence and absence of DEN by evaluating density, biomass, production, stages of development and turnover. MOI was competitive excluded when in 2-species polycultures with MAC and DAPH, and in 4-species polycultures with MAC, DAPH and DEN together. Since MOI survived when cultured with MAC and DAPH in 3-species polycultures, DEN possibly played a role on MOI suppression. Regarding density, DAPH had a slightly suppression when exposed separately with MOI, although MAC had higher production in the presence of MOI. Development stages with similar body size apparently competed more intensely for resources. Our results indicate that DEN has potential to invade ecosystems, destabilizing native zooplankton communities, since it affected MAC and DAPH, thus altering their competitive advantage, besides contributing to MOI exclusion.