, Volume 632, Issue 1, pp 247–259 | Cite as

Effect of magnesium on charophytes calcification: implications for phosphorus speciation stored in biomass and sediment in Myall Lake (Australia)

  • Kian SiongEmail author
  • Takashi Asaeda
Primary research paper


We examined the effect of magnesium (Mg) on the charophytes calcite (CaCO3) encrustation and assessed whether charophytes, growing on non-calcareous sediments in the Myall Lake, a poorly flushed shallow coastal lake with salinity of 2–3 PSU, could function as an effective nutrient sink for phosphorus (P) in a similar manner to charophytes growing on calcareous sediments of the freshwater calcium (Ca)-rich hardwater, i.e., through the formation of Ca-bound P. Our results showed that high Mg in the Myall Lake water reduced the calcification in charophytes. Likewise, the addition of Mg into the tap water also produced the same effect. The inhibition of the calcite formation decreased significantly the percentage of Ca-bound P formation in the charophyte biomass as well as in the sediment. However, the inability of charophytes in Myall Lake to precipitate calcite does not reduce the plant beds' capability to act as a P nutrient sink. Instead of Ca-bound P, a large percentage of less bioavailable non-reactive organically bound P (NaOH–P: 40–65%) fraction in the biomass, together with the plant’s slow decomposition rate, will lead to burial of dead organic matter and an incomplete mineralization process. In particular, detritus of the charophyte plants’ thalli is relatively more resistant to mineralization. This mechanism was supported by the result of sedimentary P fractionation in which the refractory P and non-reactive organic P fractions accounted for at least 80% of the total P.


Myall Lake Charophytes Nutrient sink Gyttja Refractory phosphorus Calcium-bound phosphorus 



This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. We thank the anonymous reviewer for the comment on the earlier version of the manuscript. We also would like to thank Takeshi Fujino, Jagath Manatunge, Lalith Rajapakse, Daniel Shilla, Brian Sonderson, and Anna Redden for their assistance during the field sampling.


  1. Allanson, B. R., 1973. The fine structure of the periphyton of Chara sp. and Potamogeton natans from Wytham Pond, Oxford, and its significance to the macrophyte-periphyton metabolic model of R.G. Wetzel and H.L. Allen. Freshwater Biology 3: 535–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anadón, P., R. Utrilla & A. Vázquez, 2002. Mineralogy and Sr–Mg geochemistry of charophyte carbonates: a new tool for paleolimnological research. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 197: 205–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. APHA, AWWA, WPCF, 1995. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 18th ed. American Public Health Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  4. Asaeda, T., L. Rajapakse & B. Sanderson, 2007. Morphological and reproductive acclamations to growth of two charophyte species in shallow and deep water. Aquatic Botany 86: 393–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Asaeda, T., M. Yamamuro, K. Siong, L. Rajapakse & B. Sanderson, 2008. Nutrient sources for charophytes and Najas marina in Myall Lake, Australia, indicated by carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios. Proceedings of the International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology 30: 401–405.Google Scholar
  6. Borowitzka, M. A., A. W. D. Larkum & C. E. Nockolds, 1974. A scanning electron microscope study of the structure and organization of the calcium carbonate deposits of algae. Phycologia 13: 195–203.Google Scholar
  7. Carignan, R. & J. Kalff, 1980. Phosphorus sources for aquatic weeds: water or sediments? Science 207: 987–989.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. DIPNR, 2004. Understanding Blue-Green Algal Blooms in Myall Lakes. NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Newcastle, Australia.Google Scholar
  9. Drew, S., I. Flett, J. Wilson, H. Heijnis & C. G. Skilbeck, 2008. The trophic history of Myall Lakes, New South Wales, Australia: interpretations using δ13C and δ15N of the sedimentary record. Hydrobiologia 608: 35–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Effler, S. W., M. T. Auer, N. Johnson, M. Penn & H. C. Rowell, 1996. Sediment. In Effler, S. W. (ed.), Limnological and Engineering Analysis of a Polluted Urban Lake. Prelude to Environmental Management of Onondaga Lake, New York. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY: 600–666.Google Scholar
  11. Gunnison, D. & M. Alexander, 1975. Basis for the resistance of several algae to microbial decomposition. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 29: 729–738.Google Scholar
  12. Gustafsson, J. P., 2007. Visual MINTEQ ver. 2.53. Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
  13. Harris, W. G., M. M. Fisher, X. Cao, T. Osborne & L. Ellis, 2007. Magnesium-rich minerals in sediment and suspended particulates of south Florida water bodies: implications for turbidity. Journal of Environmental Quality 36: 1670–1677.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hutchinson, G. E., 1975. A Treatise on Limnology, Vol. III. Limnological Botany. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Jensen, H. S., P. Kristensen, E. Jeppesen & A. Skytthe, 1992. Iron:phosphorus ratio in surface sediment as an indicator of phosphate release from aerobic sediments in shallow lakes. Hydrobiologia 235–236: 731–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kroken, S. B., L. E. Graham & M. E. Cook, 1996. Occurrence and evolutionary significance of resistant cell walls in charophytes and bryophytes. American Journal of Botany 83: 1241–1254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Królikowska, J., 1997. Eutrophication processes in a shallow, macrophyte-dominated lake – species differentiation, biomass and the distribution of submerged macrophytes in Lake Łuknajno (Poland). Hydrobiologia 342–343: 411–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kufel, I. & L. Kufel, 1997. Eutrophication processes in a shallow, macrophyte-dominated lake – nutrient loading to and flow through Lake Łuknajno (Poland). Hydrobiologia 342–343: 387–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kufel, L. & I. Kufel, 2002. Chara beds acting as nutrient sinks in shallow lakes – a review. Aquatic Botany 72: 249–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kuo, S., 1996. Phosphorus. In Sparks, D. L. (ed.), Methods of Soil Analysis: Chemical Methods. Part 3. ASA and SSSA, Madison, WI: 869–919.Google Scholar
  21. Lee, R. E., 1989. Phycology, 2nd ed. Cambridge University press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  22. Littlefield, L. & C. Forsberg, 1965. Absorption and translocation of phosphorus-32 by Chara globularis Thuill. Physiologia Plantarum 18: 291–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lucas, W. J. & F. A. Smith, 1973. The formation of alkaline and acid regions at the surface of Chara corallina cells. Journal of Experimental Botany 24: 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Morse, J. W., 1974. Dissolution kinetics of calcium carbonate in seawater. 5. Effects of natural inhibitors and position of the chemical lysocline. American Journal of Science 274: 638–647.Google Scholar
  25. Murphy, J. & J. Riley, 1962. A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters. Analytica Chemica Acta 27: 31–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Otsuki, A. & R. G. Wetzel, 1972. Coprecipitation of phosphate with carbonates in a marl lake. Limnology and Oceanography 17: 763–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Psenner, R. & R. Pucsko, 1988. Phosphorus fractionation: advantages and limits of the method for the study of sediment P origins and interactions. Archiv für Hydrobiologie Beihefte Ergebnisse der Limnologie. 30: 43–59.Google Scholar
  28. Pytkowicz, R. M., 1965. Rates of inorganic calcium carbonate nucleation. Journal of Geology 73: 196–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pytkowicz, R. M., 1973. Calcium carbonate retention in supersaturated seawater. American Journal of Science 273: 515–522.Google Scholar
  30. Reynolds, R. C., 1978. Polyphenol inhibition of calcite precipitation in Lake Powell. Limnology and Oceanography 23: 585–597.Google Scholar
  31. Sanderson, B. G., 2008. Circulation and the nutrient budget in Myall Lakes. Hydrobiologia 608: 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shilla, D., T. Asaeda, T. Fujino & B. Sanderson, 2006. Decomposition of dominant submerged macrophytes: implications for nutrient release in Myall Lake, NSW, Australia. Wetlands Ecology and Management 14: 427–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Siong, K. & T. Asaeda, 2006. Does calcite encrustation in Chara provide a phosphorus nutrient sink? Journal of Environmental Quality 35: 490–494.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Søndergaard, Ma. & B. Moss, 1998. Impact of submerged macrophytes on phytoplankton in shallow freshwater lakes. In Jeppesen, E., Ma. Søndergaard, Mo. Søndergaard & K. Christoffersen (eds), The Structuring Role of Submerged Macrophytes in Lakes. Ecological Studies, Vol. 131. Springer-Verlag, New York: 115–132.Google Scholar
  35. Steinman, A. D., R. H. Meeker, A. J. Rodusky, W. P. Davis & S.-J. Hwang, 1999. Ecological properties of charophytes in a large subtropical lake. Journal of North American Benthological Society 16: 781–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Strickland, J. D. H. & T. R. Parsons, 1972. A Practical Handbook of Seawater Analysis, 2nd ed. Fish Research Board Canada Bulletin 167, Ottawa, Canada.Google Scholar
  37. Stumm, W. & J. J. Morgan, 1996. Aquatic Chemistry, 3rd ed. Wiley Interscience, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  38. Vymazal, J., 1995. Algae and element cycling in wetlands. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  39. Wetzel, R. G., 1993. Microcommunities and microgradients: linking nutrient regeneration and high sustained aquatic primary production. Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology 27: 3–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wetzel, R. G., 2001. Limnology Lake and River Ecosystem, 3rd ed. Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  41. Wilson, J., 2008. Nutrient and phytoplankton responses to a flood event in a series of interconnected coastal lakes: Myall Lakes Australia. Hydrobiologia 608: 21–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zimba, P. V., M. S. Hopson & D. E. Colle, 1993. Elemental composition of five submersed aquatic plants collected from Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 31: 137–140.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and Human EngineeringSaitama UniversitySaitamaJapan
  2. 2.The World Bank IndonesiaJakartaIndonesia

Personalised recommendations