Modelling the population dynamics of Daphnia obtusa (Kurz) in Lake Orta (N. Italy) under pre- and post-liming conditions

Carla Bonacina, Waleed Hamza, Andrea Pasteris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A mathematical matrix model was formulated to investigate the response of Daphnia obtusa population dynamics to the changes in the water chemistry of Lake Orta before and after the liming operation. Model parameters were estimated from experimental laboratory data. Model analysis showed that water chemistry changes induced by liming affected mainly egg survival and predicted the highest population growth at pH 6. Whereas increased egg mortality heavily inhibits population growth rate, the model still predicts a long term tendency of the population to increase in number. However, both before and after the liming operation due to high food availability in the laboratory, egg production was higher under all experimental conditions than in the field. When food limitation is accounted for and more realistic, field based estimates of egg production are used, the model predicts the extinction of D. obtusa population in the lake. This suggests that the effects of water chemistry changes on egg mortality had a critical role in the disappearance of D. obtusa from Lake Orta and may even adequately explain the extinction of this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalAquatic Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Daphnia
  • Lake recovery
  • Liming
  • Matrix models
  • Population dynamics
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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