An overview of Cladoceran studies conducted in mine water impacted lakes

Document Type : Review


Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU) and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, 00014, Helsinki, Finland



Mine-fed waters have been rigorously studied, but most of the ecological research on mine water has been conducted in riverine systems. Lakes, however, are known to recover from pollution more slowly than riverine systems and, thus, the impacts of mine water on lakes are equally interesting. One of the most important biological components in lakes are the Cladocera, an order of crustacean zooplankton. Cladocerans are regarded as excellent indicators of environmental change and, for example, genus Daphnia is one of the most used test organisms in ecotoxicology. While in vitro tests regarding pollutants and cladocerans have been reviewed multiple times, the literature regarding the community level responses to mine pollution in natural settings is still to be better explored. The main aim of this paper is to screen and compile the current literature related to cladoceran communities and mine-induced water pollution. In addition, the applicability of cladocerans as a bioindicators group in mine water studies will be explored. This review shows that cladocerans have been studied in many cases of mining related pollution and most of the research has been conducted in North America, central Europe and Brazil. Acidity, turbidity and metals pollution are nearly equally important in shaping cladoceran communities in mining impacted lakes. The most tolerant taxa to mining pollution are Bosmina spp. and Chydorus sphaericus. The group clearly has potential as community level bioindicator/biomonitor in mining pollution studies, but challenges remain. Namely, the lack of data regarding the most sensitive taxa is a major problem when indicator value of any single species is assessed.