Diversity and succession of pelagic microorganism communities in a newly restored Illinois River floodplain lake

Michael J. Lemke, Sara F. Paver, Keenan E. Dungey, Luiz Felipe M. Velho, Angela D. Kent, Luzia Cleide Rodrigues, Doyn M. Kellerhals, Michelle R. Randle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the success of restoration efforts frequently depends on reconstructing ecological communities, time series observations of community structure over the course of restoration are rare. Here, frequent sampling of bacterioplankton, phytoplankton, planktonic protozoa (ciliates and testaceans), and zooplankton was done along with measurements of select physical and chemical parameters during the first year of ecological restoration of Thompson Lake (TL), an Illinois River floodplain lake not connected to the river. The primary objective was to describe the microbial composition, diversity, and seasonal dynamics in TL and compare these results to similar measurements made in a nearby reference lake, river flood-pulsed Lake Chautauqua (LC). Strong seasonal patterns in bacterioplankton diversity were observed for both lakes. While TL phytoplankton diversity was lower and blooms more erratic than in LC, ciliate richness and abundance patterns were similar in both lakes. Rotifers and microcrustaceans were about 5× more abundant in TL than LC, with copepods and cladocerans exhibiting a fall abundance peak only in TL. When compared to temporal patterns of planktonic microorganisms in the reference lake (LC), the microbial dynamics in a lake recovering from decades of agriculture and drainage (TL) reflect the instability associated with early stages of ecological restoration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-58
Number of pages24
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Aquatic microbial ecology
  • Bacteria
  • Ciliates
  • Flood pulse
  • Plankton
  • Shallow lake restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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