Differences in plankton biodiversity in two freshwater sources
Plankton in freshwater ponds play an important role in supporting the trophic chain and transferring energy from one trophic level to the next. Previous studies have examined plankton diversity in marine systems, however, there is little research on freshwater plankton diversity. Our study’s aims were to investigate plankton biodiversity in two bodies of freshwater at the University of British Columbia Vancouver campus and to determine the drivers of species richness in freshwater ponds. We hypothesized that the two sites would differ in species richness, and that temperature and oxygen levels would influence the number of species. We predicted that temperature and oxygen levels would be correlated with increased species richness. We also predicted that biodiversity would increase with increasing acidity, up to a certain threshold. Our study sampled two bodies of freshwater to determine the species richness of each site, and investigated abiotic factors (oxygen concentration, temperature, and pH) that could be influencing plankton biodiversity. We found that there were no significant differences in the number of species found at the two locations. In addition, our results indicated that pH was negatively correlated with species richness, and that temperature and oxygen concentration did not influence biodiversity. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of acidity in aquatic ecosystems, and emphasize the need for further research in understanding biodiversity and their drivers in freshwater ecosystems.