Biological productivity of Lake Towada, a north temperate, oligotrophic, kokanee fishery lake

Wataru Makino, Hajime Mikami, Noboru Katano, Megumi Nakagawa, Noriko Takamura

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3 Citations (Scopus)


During the Lake Towada survey from April through October 1998, we measured primary production at shore and offshore stations, and calculated crustacean zooplankton production from samples collected at the offshore station. We then analyzed these data and compared them with commercial fishery data in order to discuss the energy flow in this lake where kokance (Oncorhynchus nerka) fisheries are one of the main businesses. At all stations, primary production was relatively high: 150-300mgCm-2 day-1 in April-mid-June and lower at ca. 100mgCm-2 day-1 thereafter. The variation in primary productivity could largely be explained by multiple regression models that included phytoplankton biomass and ambient nutrient conditions as independent variables. Among zooplankton, rotifers had their peak abundance in May, before the crustacean zooplankton (Daphnia longispina, Bosmina longirostris, and Acanthodiaptomus pacificus) population was well established, D. longispina dominated the crustacean zooplankton community in terms of biomass and production; their production during the study period made up 80% of crustacean community production (19.6g dry-wt m-2), which was 40% of primary production during the survey. In July, when the abundance of D. longispina was particularly high, their daily production slightly exceeded daily primary production, which resulted in ca. 30% and 75% reduction in the amount of particulate organic carbon and chlorophyll a, respectively, during this period. The community ingestion rate of crustacean zooplankton, calculated from their daily production (D. longispina accounted for 90%) and the assumption that their gross production efficiency (K1) was 60%, could roughly explain this reduction of particulate matter, corroborating previous studies that the grazing of D. longispina can significantly improve the water transparency of this lake. The catch of kokance and pond smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus nipponensis, another important fish in the lake) during the survey corresponded to 1.1% of crustacean community production, and corresponded to 0.45% of the primary production, which is one of the highest recorded values. Bearing in mind that D. longispina was the major food item of planktivorous fish such as kokanee and pond smelt, the present study suggests that the energy transfer from phytoplankton to zooplankton to fish is outstandingly efficient, compared with other aquatic ecosystems, when D. longispina dominates in the lake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Aug


  • Fish catch
  • Kokanee
  • Oligotrophic lake
  • Primary production
  • Secondary production


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