Response of a lentic periphyton community to nutrient enrichment at low N:P ratios

TitleResponse of a lentic periphyton community to nutrient enrichment at low N:P ratios
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsLuttenton MRussell, Lowe RL
JournalJournal of Phycology

We examined the effect of nitrogen:phosphorus (N:P) ratios and nutrient concentrations on periphyton when nutrients (N and P) are provided in excess. A gradient of seven N:P ratios ranging from 7.5:1 to 1:7.5 and each at three absolute concentrations, was established using nutrient-releasing substrata placed in a meso-oligotrophic lake. Differences in total algal biovolume among nutrient ratios were significant (analysis of covariance [ANCOVA]) when P concentration was entered as the co-variate. In addition, total algal biovolume was significantly correlated with N concentration but not P. To further evaluate the relationship between nutrient ratios and biovolume, we analyzed (using four 1-way analysis of variances [ANOVAs]) four subsets of data defined as a series of treatments where one nutrient concentration remained relatively constant as the other changed creating different N:P ratios. Ratios of data subsets ranged from 1:1 to 7.5:1 and 1:1 to 1:7.5 with low and high concentrations of both series. Only diatom biovolume varied with ratio but these differences are most likely related to increased green algal abundance. Species richness and diversity differed among N:P ratios (ANCOVA) when P concentration was used as the co-variate. Stigeoclonium tenue (Ag.) Gomont, which generally accounted for the increase in green algal abundance, varied with nutrient ratio (ANCOVA) when P was the co-variate. Based on the ANCOVAs, correlations, and one-way ANOVAs, periphyton in this system appears to be affected by N concentration but not by N:P treatment ratios under nutrient-rich conditions. When compared with previous studies, these data also suggest that the response of periphyton to in situ treatments constructed with nutrient-releasing substrata vary between years.