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Influence of Phoslock® on legacy phosphorus, nutrient ratios, and algal assemblage composition in hypereutrophic water resources


Acceleration of eutrophication in freshwater resources can result in prolific growth of nuisance algae, notably cyanobacteria. In this research, we evaluated the ability of an in situ P binding technology (Phoslock®) to alter available water column and sediment P, and the subsequent impact on nutrient ratios and algal assemblage composition. Two golf course irrigation ponds with legacy nutrient loads and chronic cyanobacterial blooms were treated with Phoslock and monitored for 2 years post-treatment. Phoslock significantly (P < 0.05) decreased water column total P levels and shifted mobile sediment P fractions (i.e., labile, reductant-soluble, organic) to the residual fraction. Total N/P ratios (by mass) significantly increased and were sustained at over 30:1 in the Hickory Meadows irrigation pond and 100:1 in the Chockyotte irrigation pond throughout the study. Consequent changes in the algal assemblage included decreases in dominance and overall density of cyanobacteria as well as a shift away from scum-forming genera (e.g., Microcystis spp. and Anabaena [Dolichospermum] sp.) to planktonic forms (e.g., Pseudanabaena sp. and Planktolyngbya sp.). This research provides information regarding mitigation of in situ water and sediment P toward shifting nutrient ratios and altering algal assemblage composition.

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The authors thank Clayton L. Lynch, Nick Jackson, Cody Hale, Hasan Hasan, and Ben E. Willis for application, sampling, and analytical support.


The authors thank North Carolina State University Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education for funding this research.

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Correspondence to West M. Bishop.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Bishop, W.M., Richardson, R.J. Influence of Phoslock® on legacy phosphorus, nutrient ratios, and algal assemblage composition in hypereutrophic water resources. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 4544–4557 (2018).

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  • Eutrophication
  • Phosphorus
  • Phoslock
  • Management
  • Nutrient ratios
  • Cyanobacteria