, Volume 450, Issue 1-3, pp 187-196

Nutrient induced changes in the species composition of epiphytes on Cladophora glomerata Kütz. (Chlorophyta)

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Abstract

Cladophora glomerata is a widely distributed filamentous freshwater alga that hosts a complex microalgal epiphyte assemblage. We manipulated nutrients and epiphyte abundances to access their effects on epiphyte biomass, epiphyte species composition, and C. glomerata growth. C. glomerata did not grow in response to these manipulations. Similarly, nutrient and epiphyte removal treatments did not alter epiphyte biovolume. Epiphyte species composition, however, changed dramatically with nutrient enrichment. The epiphyte assemblage on unenriched C. glomerata was dominated by Epithemia sorex and Epithemia adnata, whereas the assemblage on enriched C. glomerata was dominated by Achnanthidium minutissimum, Nitzschia palea and Synedra spp. These results indicate that nutrients strongly structure epiphyte species composition. Interactions between C. glomerata and its epiphytes were not affected by epiphyte species composition in our experiment but may be when C. glomerata is actively growing.