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Modelling the response of phytoplankton in a shallow lake (Loch Leven, UK) to changes in lake retention time and water temperature.

By J.A. Elliott and L. Defew


The phytoplankton community of Loch Leven in 2005 was modelled and subjected to a combination of different flushing rates and water temperatures in order to assess the lake’s sensitivity to these two climatic drivers. Whilst the simulated annual mean total chlorophyll a proved relatively insensitive to these changes, at the species level marked changes were recorded. Some species responded positively to increased temperature (e.g. Aulacoseira), some negatively (e.g. Asterionella), whilst others were negatively affected by increased flow (e.g. Aphanocapsa) and others enhanced (e.g. Stephanodiscus). However, this relationship with flow was season dependent with, for example, a simulated increase in summer inflows actually benefiting some species through increased nutrient supply, whereas an equivalent increase in flow in wetter seasons would have negatively affected those species (i.e. through flushing loss). Overall, the simulations showed that the range of species types simulated in the community was sufficient for one species to always benefit from the changing niches created by the multiple climatic drivers applied in this study. The level of exploitation by such a species was only constrained by the nutrient carrying capacity of the system, which led to the overall dampened response in the total chlorophyll a measure, both at the annual and season scale. Thus, whilst overall biomass showed relatively little reaction to the two climatic drivers tested, the phytoplankton community composition responded markedly

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s10750-011-0930-y
OAI identifier:

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