Effects of wind wave turbulence on the phytoplankton community composition in large, shallow Lake Taihu
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Wind waves are responsible for some of the spatio-temporal gradients observed in the biotic and abiotic variables in large shallow lakes. However, their effects on the phytoplankton community composition are still largely unexplored especially in freshwater systems such as lakes. In this paper, using field observations and mesocosm bioassay experiments, we investigated the impact of turbulence generated by wind waves on the phytoplankton community composition (especially on harmful cyanobacteria) in Lake Taihu, a large, shallow eutrophic lake in China. The composition of the phytoplankton community varied with the intensity of wind waves in the different areas of the lake. During summer, when wind waves were strong in the central lake, diatoms and green algae seemed to dominate while harmful cyanobacteria dominated in the weakly influenced Meiliang Bay. Turbulence bioassays also showed that diatoms and green algae were favoured by turbulent mixing. The critical time for the shift of the phytoplankton community composition was approximately 10 days under turbulent conditions. However, short-term (6 days) turbulence is rather beneficial for the dominance of cyanobacteria. This study suggests that the duration of wind events and their associated hydrodynamics are key factors to understanding the temporal and spatial changes of phytoplankton communities.
KeywordsWind waves Turbulence Phytoplankton community composition Dominance Cyanobacterial blooms
We appreciate the very thorough and constructive reviews provided by two anonymous reviewers. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (41230744, 41471021) and Water Pollution Control and Management Project (2012ZX07503-002). We thank the Taihu Laboratory for Lake Ecosystem Research (TLLER) for providing the physical, chemical, and phytoplankton data.
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