, Volume 619, Issue 1, pp 155-166

Effects of nutrients and dissolved organic matter on the response of phytoplankton to ultraviolet radiation: experimental comparison in spring versus summer

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The effects of nutrients and dissolved organic matter (DOM) on the response of phytoplankton community structure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) was studied using natural phytoplankton assemblages from Lake Giles (Northeastern Pennsylvania), a temperate, oligotrophic, highly UVR-transparent lake. Microcosm experiments were conducted in 1-l bags in the spring and summer. A factorial design was used, with two UVR treatments (ambient and reduced), two nutrient treatments (control with no nutrients added, and nitrogen and phosphorus addition together), and two DOM treatments (control of 1 mg l−1 and doubled). In April, UVR affected the overall phytoplankton community structure, causing a shift in the dominant species. Significant interactive effects of UVR × nutrients and UVR × DOM were found on total phytoplankton biovolumes. In July, all taxa responded positively to the N + P addition, and were affected differentially by the UVR treatments. The initial communities varied in April and July, but Synura sp. and Chroomonas sp. were present in both seasons. Synura sp. responded positively to the addition of DOM in April and the reduction of UVR in July. Chroomonas sp. responded positively to the reduction of UVR in April and the addition of nutrients in July. The differential sensitivity of these two species suggests that changing environmental factors between spring and summer promoted differences in the relative importance of UVR in changing phytoplankton community structure.

Handling editor: Luigi Naselli-Flores