, Volume 175, Issue 1, pp 13–32 | Cite as

Acidity status and phytoplankton species richness, standing crop, and community composition in Adirondack, New York, U.S.A. lakes

  • Clifford A. Siegfried
  • Jay A. Bloomfield
  • James W. Sutherland


The mid-summer phytoplankton communities of more than 100 Adirondack lakes ranging in pH from 4.0 to 7.2 were characterized in relation to 25 physical-chemical parameters. Phytoplankton species richness declined significantly with increasing acidity. Acidic lakes (pH < 5.0) averaged fewer than 20 species while more circumneutral waters (pH > 6.5) averaged more than 33 species. Phytoplankton abundance was not significantly correlated with any of the measured physical-chemical parameters, but standing crop parameters, i.e., chlorophyll a and phytoplankton biovolume, did correlate significantly with several parameters. Midsummer standing crop correlated best with total phosphorus concentration but acidity status affected the standing crop-phosphorus relationship. Circumneutral waters of low phosphorus content, i.e. < 10 µg·1−1 TP, averaged 3.62 µg·1−1 chlorophyll a whereas acidic lakes of the same phosphorus content averaged only 1.96 µg·1−1 chlorophyll a. The midsummer chlorophyll content of lakes of high phosphorus content, i.e. > 10 µg·1−1 TP, was not significantly affected by acidity status.

Adirondack phytoplankton community composition changes with increasing acidity. The numbers of species in midsummer collections within all major taxonomic groups of algae are reduced with increasing acidity. The midsummer phytoplankton communities of acidic Adirondack lakes can generally be characterized into four broad types; 1) the depauperate clear water acid lake assemblage dominated by dinoflagellates, 2) the more diverse oligotrophic acid lake community dominated by cryptomonads, green algae, and chrysophytes, 3) the productive acid lake assemblage dominated by green algae, and 4) the chrysophyte dominated community. The major phytoplankton community types of acid lakes are associated with different levels of nutrients, aluminum concentrations, and humic influences.


Phytoplankton Dinoflagellate Phosphorus Content Phytoplankton Community Standing Crop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford A. Siegfried
    • 1
  • Jay A. Bloomfield
    • 2
  • James W. Sutherland
    • 2
  1. 1.Biological Survey New York State Museum and Science ServiceAlbanyU.S.A.
  2. 2.New York State Dept. of Environmental ConservationAlbanyU.S.A.

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