The phytoplankton succession in the lower part of hypertrophic Nakdong River (Mulgum), South Korea

  • Kyong Ha
  • Hyun-Woo Kim
  • Gea-Jae Joo
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 129)


Investigations were carried out to determine the mechanism of phytoplankton succession in the lower part of Nakdong River. Intensive monitoring was conducted from April 1993 to April 1995 at weekly or biweekly intervals. This river is the main source of drinking water for more than 8 million residents living in Pusan and the Southeastern region of Korea, and it is also important for industrial purposes. Due to the rapid urbanization and industrialization, this river has become hypertrophic and it is heavily regulated (mean chl. a, 79 ± 232 µg 1−1 n = 76; mean TN, 4.3 ± 2.0 mg 1−1 n = 30; mean TP, 165 + 108 µg 1−1 n = 45). Bacillariophyceae were dominant year-round in 1993, with spring and late fall peaks. Dominant communities in 1994 were Bacillariophyceae in March and April, Chlorophyceae and Cryptophyceae in May, Cyanobacteria in July and August, Chlorophyceae and Cryptophyceae in October, and Bacillariophyceae in December. As drought persisted through the summer of 1994, elevated water temperature (over 30 °C) possibly triggered Cyanobacteria bloom (mainly Microcystis aeruginosa, maximum cell density, 1.6 × 107 cells m1−1). The most common diatom, Stephanodiscus hantzschii, repeatedly dominated from late fall to next spring (mean and maximum cell density, 7.5 × 104, 1.2 × 105 cells m1−1, respectively). This small centric diatom was favored by the low discharge and the cold water (water temperature, 3–10 °C). After the diatom bloom, this community shifted to peaks of colonial Chlorophyceae and motile Cryptophyceae, owing to the high rate of zooplankton grazing activity and increased water temperature. Overall, the phytoplankton periodicity was primarily governed by the hydrologic regime (discharge). Changes in silica concentration, water temperature and high zooplankton density might have played an important role in phytoplankton dynamics during the non-flooding periods. Compared to other large rivers, strong Microcystis bloom events in summer and Stephanodiscus bloom events in winter were noticeable in the dry year. The patterns of phytoplankton succession observed in this study may have a significance since most of the large rivers in Far Eastern Asian countries are subjected to eutrophication and regulation of discharge.

Key words

regulated river Microcystis bloom Discharge Temperature community composition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyong Ha
    • 1
  • Hyun-Woo Kim
    • 1
  • Gea-Jae Joo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyPusan National UniversityPusanS. Korea

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