Effects of limiting nutrients and N:P ratios on the phytoplankton growth in a shallow hypertrophic reservoir

  • Ho-Sub Kim
  • Soon-Jin HwangEmail author
  • Jae-Ki Shin
  • Kwang-Guk An
  • Chun Gyeong Yoon
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 194)


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of limiting nutrients and the N:P ratios on the growth of phytoplankton (mainly cyanobacteria) in a shallow hypertrophic reservoir between November 2002 and December 2003. Nutrient enrichment bioassays (NEBs) were conducted, along with analyses of seasonal ambient nutrients and phytoplankton taxa, in the reservoir. The average DIN:TDP and TN:TP mass ratios in the ambient water were 90 (range: 17–187) and 34 (13–60), respectively, during the study period. The dissolved inorganic phosphorus showed seasonal variation, but less than that of inorganic nitrogen. The TN:TP ratios ranged from 13 to 46 (mean: 27 ± 6) during June-December when the cyanobacteria, Microcystis, dominated the phytoplankton composition. The NEBs showed that phytoplankton growth was mainly stimulated by the phosphorus (all of total 17 cases), rather than the nitrogen concentration (8 of 17 cases). The rapid growth rate of cyanobacteria was evident with TN:TP ratios less than 30. According to the results of the NEBs with different N concentrations (0.07, 0.7 and 3.5 mg l−1), but the same N:P ratios and when the nitrogen concentration was highest, the cyanobacterial growth reached a maximum at N:P ratios <1. Overall, the response of cyanobacterial growth was a direct function of added phosphorus in the NEBs, and was greater with increased N concentrations. Thus, cyanobacterial blooms favored relatively low N:P ratios in this hypertrophic reservoir system.


N:P ratio P-limitation Phytoplankton growth Cyanobacteria Hypertrophic reservoir 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ho-Sub Kim
    • 1
  • Soon-Jin Hwang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jae-Ki Shin
    • 2
  • Kwang-Guk An
    • 3
  • Chun Gyeong Yoon
    • 1
  1. 1.Han River Environmental Research LaboratoryNational Institute of Environmental ResearchGyeonggiKorea
  2. 2.Korea Institute of Water and EnvironmentKorea Water Resources CorporationDaejonKorea
  3. 3.School of Bioscience and BiotechnologyChungnam National UniversityDaejonKorea

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