Competition for resources between coexisting phytoplankton and benthic algae, but with different habitats and roles in functioning of lake ecosystems, profoundly affects dynamics of shallow lakes in the process of eutrophication. An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that combined enrichment with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) would be a greater benefit to phytoplankton than benthic algae. The growth of phytoplankton and benthic algae was measured as chlorophyll a (Chl a) in 12 shallow aquatic mesocosms supplemented with N, P, or both. We found that enrichment with N enhanced growth of benthic algae, but not phytoplankton. P enrichment had a negative effect on benthic algal growth, and no effect on the growth of phytoplankton. N+P enrichment had a negative effect on benthic algae, but enhanced the growth of phytoplankton, thus reducing the proportion of benthic algae contributing to the combined biomass of these two groups of primary producers. Thus, combined N+P enrichment is more favorable to phytoplankton in competition with benthic algae than enrichment with either N or P alone. Our study indicates that combined enrichment with N+P promotes the dominance of phytoplankton over benthic algae, with consequences for the trophic dynamics of shallow lake ecosystems.
|Journal||Environmental Science and Pollution Research|
|Early online date||12 Oct 2014|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- Benthic algae
- Resource competition
- Shallow lakes