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Open AccessArticle

Identifying the Mechanisms behind the Positive Feedback Loop between Nitrogen Cycling and Algal Blooms in a Shallow Eutrophic Lake

by 1,2, 1,2,*, 1,2, 1,2 and 3,4
1
School of Environment, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
2
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
3
Green Economy Development Institute, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, Nanjing 210023, China
4
Jiangsu Engineering Lab of Water and Soil Eco-Remediation, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hong Yang
Water 2021, 13(4), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040524
Received: 25 December 2020 / Revised: 9 February 2021 / Accepted: 13 February 2021 / Published: 18 February 2021
Algal blooms have increased in frequency, intensity, and duration in response to nitrogen (N) cycling in freshwater ecosystems. We conducted a high-resolution sedimentary study of N transformation and its associated microbial activity in Lake Taihu to assess the accumulation rates of the different N fractions in response to algal blooms, aiming to understand the mechanisms of N cycling in lacustrine environments. Downcore nitrification and denitrification processes were measured simultaneously in situ via diffusive gradients in thin-films technique, peeper, and microelectrode devices in a region of intensified algal blooms of shallow lake. The decomposition of different biomasses of algal blooms did not change the main controlling factor on different N fractions in profundal sediment. However, the decomposition of different algal biomasses led to significant differences in the nitrification and denitrification processes at the sediment–water interface (SWI). Low algal biomasses facilitated the classic process of N cycling, with the balanced interaction between nitrification and denitrification. However, the extreme hypoxia under high algal biomasses significantly limited nitrification at the SWI, which in turn, restricted denitrification due to the lack of available substrates. Our high-resolution results combined with estimates of apparent diffusion fluxes of the different N fractions inferred that the lack of substrates for denitrification was the main factor influencing the positive feedback loop between N and eutrophication in freshwater ecosystems. Moreover, this positive feedback can become irreversible without technological intervention. View Full-Text
Keywords: algal blooms; nitrogen cycle; Lake Taihu; nitrification; denitrification; eutrophication algal blooms; nitrogen cycle; Lake Taihu; nitrification; denitrification; eutrophication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yao, Y.; Liu, H.; Han, R.; Li, D.; Zhang, L. Identifying the Mechanisms behind the Positive Feedback Loop between Nitrogen Cycling and Algal Blooms in a Shallow Eutrophic Lake. Water 2021, 13, 524. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040524

AMA Style

Yao Y, Liu H, Han R, Li D, Zhang L. Identifying the Mechanisms behind the Positive Feedback Loop between Nitrogen Cycling and Algal Blooms in a Shallow Eutrophic Lake. Water. 2021; 13(4):524. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040524

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yao, Yu; Liu, Huaji; Han, Ruiming; Li, Dujun; Zhang, Limin. 2021. "Identifying the Mechanisms behind the Positive Feedback Loop between Nitrogen Cycling and Algal Blooms in a Shallow Eutrophic Lake" Water 13, no. 4: 524. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040524

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