Tracking management-related water quality alterations by phytoplankton assemblages in a tropical reservoir
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Water quality improvement and suppression of cyanobacterial blooms were planned in a eutrophic reservoir in southern China through ecological engineering measures from 2006 to 2011. This consisted in (i) a hydraulic resetting of inflows and outflows to increase the distance between inlet and outlet and the water residence time in the reservoir, and in (ii) the installation of floating frames hosting wetland vegetation to promote an alteration in phytoplankton composition. The environmental changes were therefore followed through the analysis of biotic responses in phytoplankton assemblages. Ecological engineering was effective in reducing phytoplankton total biomass, in re-establishing more diversified phytoplankton assemblages and in avoiding cyanobacterial blooms. These changes may be considered as an improvement of the reservoir water quality. However, trophic state parameters and the dynamics of dominant species were not sensitive enough in describing the environmental changes that had occurred when the eco-engineering measures were implemented. These were more effectively tracked by the dynamics followed by phytoplankton Morpho-Functional-Groups and by their classification based on Competitors, Stress tolerants and Ruderals strategies. Although providing immediate positive effects, the eco-engineering was temporally limited, highlighting the importance of constant management in the context of long-term oriented remediation techniques.
KeywordsPhytoplankton Morpho-functional groups C–S–R-model Generalized additive modelling Ecological engineering Reservoir
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