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Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 127–146 | Cite as

Are nutrients and light limiting summer phytoplankton in a temperate coastal lagoon?

  • Rita B. Domingues
  • Cátia C. Guerra
  • Ana B. Barbosa
  • Helena M. Galvão
Article

Abstract

The Ria Formosa coastal lagoon is one of the most important and vulnerable ecosystems in Portugal, and it is subjected to strong anthropogenic pressures and natural nutrient inputs associated with coastal upwelling. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of nutrient and light limitation of phytoplankton growth during the productive period, and assess potential impacts of limitation on ecosystem eutrophication. Inorganic nutrients were added to natural microcosms filled with water collected at the landward and seaward boundaries, in summer 2012. Experimental treatments were incubated in situ under two different light intensities during 24 h. Phytoplankton composition, abundance and biomass, net growth rates and nutrient consumption were evaluated. At the landward location, potential nutrient limitation by nitrogen was observed. Nitrogen addition led to a significant increase in N consumption, resulting in higher phytoplankton growth, mainly diatoms, in all N-enriched treatments, under both light intensities. Significant consumption of silica and phosphorus was not reflected on growth, and it was probably due to luxury consumption. At the seaward station, phytoplankton, mainly cyanobacteria and eukaryotic picophytoplankton, were primarily limited by light, due to a deeper mixed layer. Nutrients were not limiting the phytoplankton growth due to import of nutrients from upwelled waters to the adjacent coastal zone.

Keywords

Eutrophication Limitation Phytoplankton Nutrients Light Coastal lagoons 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) through project PHYTORIA (PTDC/MAR/114380/2009). FCT provided funding for R.B.D. through a postdoctoral fellowship (SFRH/BPD/68688/2010). We thank Kathleen Silvano for processing remote sensing data acquired within FCT’s project PHYTOCLIMA (PTDC/AAC-CLI/114512/2009).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita B. Domingues
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cátia C. Guerra
    • 1
  • Ana B. Barbosa
    • 1
  • Helena M. Galvão
    • 1
  1. 1.CIMA – Centre for Marine and Environmental ResearchUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences CentreFaculdade de Ciências, Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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