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Article

Whole-Ecosystem Experiments Reveal Varying Responses of Phytoplankton Functional Groups to Epilimnetic Mixing in a Eutrophic Reservoir

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Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Derring Hall, 926 West Campus Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney, Room 418, Building J05, 225 Shepherd St, Darlington NSW 2006, Sydney, Australia
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 401 Durham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: Water Research Laboratory, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW Sydney, 110 King Street, Manly Vale, NSW 2093, Australia.
Water 2019, 11(2), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020222
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 26 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Systems—Quality and Contamination)
Water column mixing can influence community composition of pelagic phytoplankton in lakes and reservoirs. Previous studies suggest that low mixing favors cyanobacteria, while increased mixing favors green algae and diatoms. However, this shift in community dominance is not consistently achieved when epilimnetic mixers are activated at the whole-ecosystem scale, possibly because phytoplankton community responses are mediated by mixing effects on other ecosystem processes. We conducted two epilimnetic mixing experiments in a small drinking water reservoir using a bubble-plume diffuser system. We measured physical, chemical, and biological variables before, during, and after mixing and compared the results to an unmixed reference reservoir. We observed significant increases in the biomass of cyanobacteria (from 0.8 ± 0.2 to 2.4 ± 1.1 μg L−1, p = 0.008), cryptophytes (from 0.7 ± 0.1 to 1.9 ± 0.6 μg L−1, p = 0.003), and green algae (from 3.8 to 4.4 μg L−1, p = 0.15) after our first mixing event, likely due to increased total phosphorus from entrainment of upstream sediments. After the second mixing event, phytoplankton biomass did not change but phytoplankton community composition shifted from taxa with filamentous morphology to smaller, rounder taxa. Our results suggest that whole-ecosystem dynamics and phytoplankton morphological traits should be considered when predicting phytoplankton community responses to epilimnetic mixing. View Full-Text
Keywords: algae; before-after-control-impact; lake management; morphology-based functional groups; phytoplankton community composition; reservoir management; bubble-plume diffuser; trait-based analysis; biophysical coupling; cyanobacteria algae; before-after-control-impact; lake management; morphology-based functional groups; phytoplankton community composition; reservoir management; bubble-plume diffuser; trait-based analysis; biophysical coupling; cyanobacteria
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lofton, M.E.; McClure, R.P.; Chen, S.; Little, J.C.; Carey, C.C. Whole-Ecosystem Experiments Reveal Varying Responses of Phytoplankton Functional Groups to Epilimnetic Mixing in a Eutrophic Reservoir. Water 2019, 11, 222. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020222

AMA Style

Lofton ME, McClure RP, Chen S, Little JC, Carey CC. Whole-Ecosystem Experiments Reveal Varying Responses of Phytoplankton Functional Groups to Epilimnetic Mixing in a Eutrophic Reservoir. Water. 2019; 11(2):222. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020222

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lofton, Mary E.; McClure, Ryan P.; Chen, Shengyang; Little, John C.; Carey, Cayelan C. 2019. "Whole-Ecosystem Experiments Reveal Varying Responses of Phytoplankton Functional Groups to Epilimnetic Mixing in a Eutrophic Reservoir" Water 11, no. 2: 222. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020222

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