A method to choose water depths for zooplankton samples in lakes

Brian Rippey, Katrina A. Macintosh, Yvonne McElarney, Richard Douglas

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Abstract: As methods in the literature to sample zooplankton in lakes mostly offered general guidance on the sample depths, a new one was developed. Using the principle of volume‐weighted sampling of the lake volume and an empirical function for the hypsometric curve, formulae for the volumes and areas of five equal sections of the lake were derived, which were then used to calculate section mean depths. Vertical net hauls taken at the mean depths are combined using a relation between their mean depths to produce one unbiased composite sample of the zooplankton. While generic formulae were derived, starting values for the depths that divide the lake volume into five equal sections are needed in order to apply the method, which then optimizes the depths; the method is implemented in a spreadsheet. The method was applied to four hypothetical lakes of maximum depth 12 m that cover a wide variation of lake form and how the sample depths vary with form was described; as lake form becomes more convex, the sample depths decrease, reflecting that more of the lake volume is at shallower depth. The method was used to estimate the whole‐lake abundance of zooplankton in 51 lakes and no practical difficulties were encountered. It can be used in lakes up to a few tens of km2 in area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalLimnology and Oceanography: Methods
Early online date23 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2021


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