Stability and change of phytoplankton communities in a highly dynamic environment—the case of large, shallow Lake Balaton (Hungary)
Time series data of key environmental variables (water temperature, global radiation, vertical light attenuation, internal P load) and biomass of four colour classes of photosynthetically active algae were collected during 2003 and 2004 with daily resolution. Using these data, seasonal patterns of phytoplankton were analyzed as a function of the dynamic environment. Abstraction of the environmental state as a point in multi-dimensional space was used to identify habitat templates of bloom-forming groups and derive an indicator of environmental stability/physical disturbance. These templates were synthesized into a simple threshold model that sufficiently simulated development and collapse of various blooms. Blooms were, however, rare events related to specific environments with strong, unidirectional forcing. Tentative quantification of disturbance and compositional stability/community change allowed discriminating disturbance-driven changes and autogenic succession with reasonable success. The two processes were found to be equally important in shaping the composition and biomass of phytoplankton.
KeywordsDaily time series Environmental stability Physical disturbance Autogenic succession Predictability Ground state
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