Physiological tests and bioassays: Aids or superfluities to the diagnosis of phytoplankton nutrient limitation? A comparative study in the Broads and the Meres of England

H.A. Hameed, S. Kilinc, S. McGowan, B. Moss (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Relationships between phytoplankton growth and supplies of phosphorus and nitrogen have been variously investigated in three lakes in two contrasted English lake areas using physiological nutrient indices (alkaline phosphatase activity, phosphorus debt, surplus phosphorus, phosphorus uptake kinetics, dark ammonium uptake, ammonium uptake kinetics, stimulation of 14C uptake, and batch bioassay) and by inspection of water chemistry. None of the lakes was significantly affected by wastewater effluent but all lay in agricultural catchments. Physiological indices and water chemistry suggested limitation of phytoplankton biomass mostly by phosphorus, and to some extent by nitrogen in summer in North Ormesby Broad, by nitrogen in summer and to some extent by phosphorus in Lily Broad and by nitrogen in White Mere. Indices did not always accord with one another, though were not severely misleading. They added little to conclusions that could be drawn from water chemistry alone. Reasons for the differential relative importance of nitrogen and phosphorus in the two lake areas are discussed. The paradigm of phosphorus limitation, though unchallenged in upland waters and those on poorly weathered rocks, may be less relevant in lowland lakes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-269
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Phycology
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Broads
  • Freshwater
  • Meres
  • Nitrogen
  • Nutrient limitation
  • Phosphorus
  • Phytoplankton

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