Littoral invertebrates associated with aquatic plants and bioassessment of ecological status in Lake Bracciano (Central Italy)

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Lake Bracciano is a large and deep volcanic lake which plays an unquestionable role for drawing water source and for fishing and recreational activities. The existence of a project aimed at increasing the amount of water drawn from the lake suggested the advisability of undertaking an ecological analysis of the invertebrate community associated with aquatic plants in order to obtain a detailed knowledge of its composition, biodiversity and quantitative structure, and to provide a set of basic and essential information for defining the ecological status in the littoral zone and for future bioassessments in the lake ecosystem. A good water quality, approaching oligotrophy, was evidenced both from data on aquatic vegetation, which showed the extensive colonization of Charales (down to a depth of about 20 m), and from faunal parameters such as high species richness and diversity values, presence and abundance of bioindicator taxa (mainly cladocerans and gastropods), abundances of total fauna. Nevertheless, a considerable disappearance of the reed thicket due to the intense shore management for recreational purposes have negatively influenced the colonization of the more shallow and productive waters, so evidencing a negative trend of the littoral quality.

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