Effects of N and P enrichment on competition between phytoplankton and benthic algae in shallow lakes: a mesocosm study: Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Xiufeng Zhang, Xueying Mei, Ramesh Gulati, Zhengwen Liu

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4418-4424
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume22
Issue number6
Early online date12 Oct 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Benthic algae
  • Phytoplankton
  • Nutrient
  • Resource competition
  • Shallow lakes
  • Eutrophication
  • international

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