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Phytoplankton assemblages in twenty-one Sicilian reservoirs: relationships between species composition and environmental factors

Abstract

Data collected in a limnological survey, carried out between 1987 and 1988 on 21 Sicilian reservoirs of varying trophic state, were ordinated using CANOCO 3.1 to generalise the way in which the structure of phytoplankton assemblage is conditioned by both physical and chemical variables. The results showed that in these man-made lakes, characterised by conspicuous water-level fluctuations, the annual and interannual variability in the abundance and composition of phytoplankton may be strongly influenced by their peculiar hydraulic regimes rather than by nutrient availability. In particular, it was highlighted that, from the early summer, water abstraction often leads to increased circulation and to the deepening of the mixed layer. In this way, an increase of the ratio of mixing depth to euphotic depth is forced, with the result that phytoplankton cells experience longer periods in darkness as they are carried through the mixed layer. Phytoplankton assemblages change in species composition in response to the environmental variation. Both the raising of the trophic state, with an increase in phytoplankton biomass and a decrease in transparency, and the intensified abstraction enhance the role of light availability in promoting the development of specific phytoplankton assemblages adapted to the modified physical environment. Light climate is an important influence on the species structure of the phytoplankton, especially in the higher part of the trophic gradient. In contrast, the influence of nutrients on the structure of the assemblages appears to be higher in the lower part of the trophic spectrum or in those environments characterised by a higher hydrological stability during the year.

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Naselli-Flores, L. Phytoplankton assemblages in twenty-one Sicilian reservoirs: relationships between species composition and environmental factors. Hydrobiologia 424, 1–11 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1003907124528

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1003907124528

  • man-made lakes
  • mixing depth
  • euphotic depth
  • light availability
  • trophic state