The distributions and abundance of free-living copepods in Kentucky Lake were examined for the years 2000, 2002, and 2004. Vertical tow samples were collected from 16 sites every 16 days for April through November and every 32 days for December through March as part of a long-term physicochemical and biological monitoring program. Copepods comprised 14.39% of the zooplankton in tow net samples, but only 6 species were abundant. Ectocyclops phaleratus, Cryptocyclops bicolor, Mesocyclops tenuis, Eurytemora affinis, Leptodiaptomus siciloides, and Acanthocyclops vernalis accounted for 86.44% of adult copepods. With the exception of E. affinis that was found throughout the year, observed seasonal density maxima occurred at differing points during the year for each of the other major species. Most species were present during spring and summer and absent or found in low numbers throughout the remainder of the year. A. vernalis, M. tenuis, and C. bicolor exhibited density decreases that corresponded with day 160. Day 160 also marked rapid declines of other common zooplankton such as Bosmina sp., Daphnia retrocurva, and Diaphanosoma sp. Similarities in annual distribution patterns among all zooplankton suggest that common factors are exerting influence on abundances and seasonal distributions.
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Vol. 68 • No. 1