Variation of phytoplankton functional groups modulated by hydraulic controls in Hongze Lake, China

Chang Tian, Haiyan Pei, Wenrong Hu, Daping Hao, Martina A Doblin, Ying Ren, Jielin Wei, Yawei Feng
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2015, 22 (22): 18163-75
Hongze Lake is a large, shallow, polymictic, eutrophic lake in the eastern China. Phytoplankton functional groups in this lake were investigated from March 2011 to February 2013, and a comparison was made between the eastern, western, and northern regions. The lake shows strong fluctuations in water level caused by monsoon rains and regular hydraulic controls. By application of the phytoplankton functional group approach, this study aims to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics and analyze their influencing factors. Altogether, 18 functional groups of phytoplankton were identified, encompassing 187 species. In order to seek the best variable describing the phytoplankton functional group distribution, 14 of the groups were analyzed in detail using redundancy analysis. Due to the turbid condition of the lake, the dominant functional groups were those tolerant of low light. The predominant functional groups in the annual succession were D (Cyclotella spp. and Synedra acus), T (Planctonema lauterbornii), P (Fragilaria crotonensis), X1 (Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa), C (Cyclotella meneghiniana and Cyclotella ocellata), and Y (Cryptomonas erosa). An opposite relationship between water level and the biomass of predominant groups was observed in the present study. Water level fluctuations, caused by monsoonal climate and artificial drawdown, were significant factors influencing phytoplankton succession in Hongze Lake, since they alter the hydrological conditions and influence light and nutrient availability. The clearly demonstrated factors, which significantly influence phytoplankton dynamics in Hongze Lake, will help government manage the large shallow lakes with frequent water level fluctuations.

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