Climate and Human-induced Changes to Lake Ecosystems: What We Can Learn From Monitoring Zooplankton Ecology
Long-term time-series data have been proven useful in analyzing the adaptability of zooplankton communities as a response to environmental change. The unique life history and importance of zooplankton in aquatic ecosystems, coupled with the capability of lakes to integrate changes in the surrounding watershed, has given each the recognition as “beacons and sentinels of climate change,” respectively. Aside from this, many lakes have undergone pollution through human-induced eutrophication attributed to extensive lake-shore town development, agricultural waste runoffs, and intensive aquaculture. Implementation of holistic lake management plans in many countries has resulted to the rehabilitation and even reversal of lake eutrophication, and this is, in part, due to regular monitoring and careful analysis of temporal zooplankton community data that came with implemented rehabilitation efforts. As such, monitoring lake zooplankton populations may give us clues as to how changes in the environment, either from human or climate induced changes have already affected lake ecosystems. It is unfortunate however, that such analysis is presently not available in our country due to lack of routine zooplankton monitoring programs. The paper reviewed several successfully implemented lake/zooplankton monitoring programs, highlighted their strong points. The researhcers also suggest integrative feasible concepts that are applicable to the country.