Relationship between freshwater gastropods and plant communities reflecting various trophic levels

Research paper by Katherine Costil, Bernard Clement

Indexed on: 01 Mar '96Published on: 01 Mar '96Published in: Hydrobiologia


Plant communities were examined in ponds in Brittany (north-west France) and then classified into six types reflecting different trophic levels: oligotrophic, oligodystrophic, mesotrophic, meso-dystrophic, meso-eutrophic an eutrophic. In 45 of these ponds, aquatic snails were sampled in order to determine the relationship between the gastropod species richness and the water trophic levels as indicated by plant community types. The second aim of this study was to determine whether some gastropod species were characteristic of a particular trophic level. The number of plant communities in the ponds was also taken into consideration.A trophic gradient was found along the F1 axis on the principal plane of the correspondence analyses. The species richnesses low or zero and especially the lymneid, Lymnaea glabra were close to the oligo-dystrophic and oligotrophic communities. In contrast, the highest numbers of snail species (5 and above) were found in the most eutrophic ponds where Hippeutis complanatus, Planorbis planorbis, Lymnaea stagnalis and Planorbarius corneus were particularly common. The latter species inhabited the ponds including on average the greatest number of macrophyte communities but no significant differences were found between snail species. The ponds which contained the greatest numbers of plant communities included the richest gastropod communities (7 and more) but also the poorest ones (0 or 1 species). Relationships between freshwater snails, macrophytes and trophic levels are discussed.