TERC researchers out on a special night time collections for zooplankton and Mysis shrimp. A zooplankton net is lowered deep into the lake and captures unsuspecting zooplankton and Mysis on its journey back to the surface.

Zooplankton in Lake Tahoe

Zooplankton are tiny creatures that live in bodies of water and play an important role in the food chain by effecting organisms both above (fish) and below (algae) them through predator/prey relationships. Zooplankton have been continuously monitored monthly in Lake Tahoe since 1967 by UC Davis scientists. The introduction of non-native fish and invertebrate species such as Mysis shrimp has caused dramatic changes in the zooplankton community over the past 50 years. It is important to study these changes through out time to see how the zooplankton community structure is affected by species introductions and climate change, ultimately resulting in changes to water clarity and lake ecology.

Left: The bright red zooplankton Diaptomus is one of the dominant zooplankton species currently living in Lake Tahoe. Right: Daphnia was once a dominant species in Lake Tahoe until the introduction of the predatory Mysis shrimp caused a dramatic decrease in the lake Daphnia population.