|dc.description.abstract||Spatial and temporal zooplankton variations were studied for 1 year in tropical alkaline–saline Lake Nakuru to determine how they partition in the habitat, relative to environmental variables. Monthly samples were collected at 10 sampling sites, with subsurface tows, using 33.5-lm mesh plankton nets. Physicochemical parameters displayed clear seasonal variations associated with precipitation patterns. Nine species, belonging to two main zooplankton taxonomic groups (ciliates; rotifers), were identiﬁed in the samples. Brachionus dimidiatus dominated the samples, accounting for 80% of the total zooplankton abundance. Kruskall–Wallis tests indicated signiﬁcant (P < 0.05) temporal and spatial variations among all taxonomic groups. Different zooplankton species displayed a clear succession throughout the year. The total abundance of the rotifers and ciliates peaked at sampling sites near inlets during the long rainy seasons, while those in the inshore sites displayed variable succession patterns. Spatiotemporal structure of the zooplankton assemblages, and its correlation with environmental variables, indicated each species displayed distinct niche-based partitioning. The ciliates niche was associated with increasing soluble reactive phosphorus, total phosphorus and nitrite–nitrogen (NO –N) concentrations.
Niche partitioning in rotifers was associated with nitrate–nitrogen (NO –N), conductivity and pH. These results indicate physical niche separation, even in a small, relatively homogenous lake among species of rotifers and ciliates, providing information from which future changes in their abundance and spatial distributions can be predicted, given continuous water quality changes.||en_US