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Salton Sea Symposium 2000

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The following represents a modified version of a poster presented
at The Salton Sea Symposium, January 13-14, 2000,
Desert Hot Springs, California,
sponsored by the Salton Sea Authority.
Invertebrates of the Salton Sea: A Scanning Electron Microscopy Portfolio

Boris I. Kuperman, Victoria E. Matey, Deborah M. Dexter,
and Mary Ann Tiffany

Center for Inland Waters and Department of Biology
San Diego State
University, San Diego, CA 92182



The last detailed examination of the biota of the Salton Sea was carried out in the 1950s.A biotic inventory is currently being conducted by researchers at SDSU and other universities. We are attempting to document all invertebrates in the Salton Sea with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and light microscopy (LM). General morphology and ultrastructure of representatives of 11 major taxonomic groups of invertebrates are demonstrated in this portfolio of images and brief descriptions. Forms illustrated include different stages of their development of both planktonic and benthic organisms.

Planktonic Invertebrates
1. Larvae of barnacle, Balanus amphitrite saltonensis. Found in greatest abundance in near shore waters in January through April. Adult forms live attached to hard substrates. Extensive deposits of barnacle shell form major structural habitats for other invertebrates in the Sea.

2. Larvae of pile worm, Neanthes succinea. Most abundance in March, scarce in summer, increase starting in November. Prey for fish and birds feeding in water column.

3. Rotifer, Brachionus rotundiformis. Most numerous organism in the summer zooplankton. Play an important role in nutrient cycling. Prey for copepods and fish.

4. Cyclopoid copepod, Apocyclops dengizicus. Dominates summer zooplankton. Food for small fish. Feeds on algae, protozoans and rotifers.

Benthic Invertebrates
5. Adult pile worm. Major item in diet of several fish and eared grebes. Most abundant in winter on mud at a depth of 5-8 m. Estimated biomass is 13.2 million kg for the entire sea in late fall.

6. Polychaete worm, Streblospio benedicti. First found in the Salton Sea in January 1999.

7. Amphipod, Gammarus mucronatus. Lives in algal mats, among living barnacles, in the barnacle sand along the shoreline and within soft sediments. Food item of eared grebes and other bird species that feed in shallow water.

8. Amphipod, Corophium sp. Lives in small tubes on submerged rocks.

9. Harpacticoid copepod, Cletocampus deitersi. Abundant among algae and detritis debris on rocks and also present in the mud.

10. Ostracod, Cyprideis beaconensis. Lives in algal mats and in the sediments. Swim up into the water column between aquatic plants.

11. Flatworm (Turbellaria), an unidentified species lives in the sediments.

12. Round worms (Nematoda). Several species have been found in sediments.

Other Important Invertebrates and Figures

13. Ephydra sp. ( Ephydridae, Diptera).

14. Trichocorixa reticulata (Corixidae, Hemiptera)

15. Barnacle and Polychaete Larvae Abundances 1997-1998

16. Brachionus and Copepod Abundances 1997-1998



Planktonic Organisms

Benthic Organisms  

Other Important Invertebrates

Fig. 15. Barnacle and Polychaete Larvae Abundances 1997-1998

Fig. 16. Brachionus and Copepod Abundances 1997-1998

 Salton Sea Symposium 2000   


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