Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 58–76 | Cite as

Nutrient-chlorophyll trajectories across trophic gradients

  • Knut L. Seip
  • Hein Sas
  • Steven Vermij


We estimate the response of chl-a (mg · m−3) to changes in concentrations of total phosphorus (TP) by calculating the slopeS = Δchl-a/ΔTP in chl-a =f(TP) graphs. Results show that in years where algae are P-limited oligotrophic lakes respond less (median slope 0.21) to changes in nutrient concentrations than eutrophic lakes, (median slope 0.31) and these again less than hypereutrophic lakes, (median slope 1.02). We find no saturation value for the slope within the TP range considered (6–480 mg · m−3). Chl-a in eutrophic lakes responds more frequently to non-nutrient factors than oligotrophic and hypereutrophic lakes. Results obtained by replacing TP with a new nutrient parameter, TP′ = 0.056 · TP · IN0.226, in which inorganic nitrogen, IN, is factored in, suggest that nitrogen has an influence on chl-a in oligotrophic lakes. Blue-green algae respond less to changes in TP than other algal species, e.g., diatoms.

Key words

Eutrophication lake management phosphorus nitrogen chlorophyll-a slope estimator 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Knut L. Seip
    • 1
  • Hein Sas
    • 2
  • Steven Vermij
  1. 1.Senter for industriforskningOslo 3Norway
  2. 2.IMSA Instituut voor Milieu- en SystemenanalyseAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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