, Volume 684, Issue 1, pp 45–56 | Cite as

Responses of phytoplankton diversity to physical disturbance under manual operation in a large reservoir, China

  • Zhe LiEmail author
  • Sheng Wang
  • Jinsong Guo
  • Fang Fang
  • Xu Gao
  • Man Long
Primary Research Paper


In aquatic ecosystems, physical disturbances have been suggested to be one of the main factors influencing phytoplankton structure and diversity. To elucidate whether large-scale artificial operation of a hydroelectric reservoir has potential impacts on phytoplankton diversity, the impact on phytoplankton biodiversity of physical disturbances under artificial operation from May 2007 to April 2008 in tributaries of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR), China, was analysed. Two disturbance parameters, i.e. the absolute incremental rates of discharge (R d,i ) and precipitation (R p,i ), were created in this study for evaluating physical disturbance intensities during low and high water level periods of the TGR. Results showed that river discharge seemed to be the main factor controlling the phytoplankton diversity in low water level periods (≤151 m), and that precipitation was a potential promoter of the physical disturbance. During the 156-m impoundment process, the species diversity clearly decreased due to the high dilution effect on the phytoplankton communities. At high water level periods (>151 m), the low levels of disturbance eventually allowed the phytoplankton community to approach competitive exclusion in late February 2008. Sharply declining diversity values appeared when the Dinophyta blooms occurred in late March and late April 2008 (Peridinium and Ceratium, respectively).


Phytoplankton Physical disturbance Intermediate disturbance hypothesis Species diversity 



This work was supported by the National Critical Patented Projects on Water Pollution Control and Management Program (Program No. 2009ZX07104), the National Natural Science Foundation (Program No. 51009155) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Program No. CDJXS10211153).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhe Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sheng Wang
    • 1
  • Jinsong Guo
    • 1
  • Fang Fang
    • 1
  • Xu Gao
    • 1
  • Man Long
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Urban Construction and Environmental EngineeringChongqing UniversityChongqingChina

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