The effects of bottom vertical structures like AquaMats® in enhancing plankton productivity was evaluated. One experimental earthen pond of 500 m2 was provided with AquaMats® increasing the surface substrate area 12 times and water quality, phytoplankton and zooplankton populations developed during almost 100 days was compared with a pond without AquaMats®. Their presence favored the development of Dinoflagellates (Miozoa, Dinophyceae), mostly Gymnodiniales, which may be of some concern since some species of this group have been associated with toxic algal blooms while in the ponds without AquaMats® Diatoms (Bacillariophyta) predominate. In both ponds plankton production was very much sculptured by external nutrients added to the systems. The balance between different nutrients is extremely important to regulate the phytoplankton populations with Diatoms blooming at silicate concentrations higher than 2 μM and below this level and at low nitrate and high ammonium being more appropriate for Dinoflagellates. The linkage between phytoplankton and zooplankton population in ponds is strong with zooplankton exerting control over the phytoplankton population and vice-versa. The use of vertical substrates enhances plankton productivity by increasing the substrate area for periphyton fixation. The main zooplankton taxonomic groups associated with the presence of AquaMats® were Calanoid and Harpacticoid copepodites and nauplii, veligers of gastropods and trochophore of polychaets, larval stages of organisms that except for calanoid copepods are benthic and correspond to the meroplanktonic phase in the life cycle of those organisms.
Part of the book: Plankton Communities