Testing the light: nutrient hypothesis in an oligotrophic boreal lake
2011 (English)In: Ecosphere, ISSN 2150-8925, Vol. 2, no 11, 123- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Anthropogenic changes in the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and carbon (C) cycles have altered nutrient concentrations and the light climate in freshwaters globally. These factors affect phytoplankton (PPr) and bacterial production (BP), which constitute the basal energy resource for higher trophic levels in the pelagic zone of lakes. The light:nutrient hypothesis (LNH) predicts that although basal production decreases at low light, seston C:nutrient ratios also decrease, thus increasing food quality for crustacean zooplankton and potentially offsetting the negative effects of reduced food availability. We tested the LNH in an oligotrophic boreal lake by manipulating N, P, C and reducing light, and measuring PPr, BP, seston C:nutrient ratios and zooplankton biomass in 32 mesocosms. Low light strongly reduced zooplankton biomass in contrast to LNH predictions. PPr did not decrease with low light as predicted by the LNH, however, the phytoplankton community shifted towards low light adapted, but potentially less edible phytoplankton species, such as colony forming Dinobryon (Chrysophyta) and gymnoid (Dinoflagellata) taxa, which were negatively correlated with zooplankton biomass. Seston C:nutrient ratios did not decrease with reduced light, possibly due to the high abundance of mixotrophic phytoplankton across treatments. BP decreased with low light and correlations between BP, bacterial biomass, ciliates and zooplankton suggest that bacteria may be coupled with zooplankton biomass. Thus, the LNH was inadequate when predicting changes in crustacean zooplankton biomass in this typical oligotrophic boreal system, where Daphnia is rare and mixotrophic phytoplankton are abundant. Instead, alternative explanations, such as changes in phytoplankton edibility and energy transferred through the microbial food chain may need investigation to explain reduced zooplankton biomass in low light treatments.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ecological Society of America , 2011. Vol. 2, no 11, 123- p.
bacterial production, food web, light : nutrient hypothesis, mesocosm, phytoplankton primary production, stoichiometry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50231DOI: 10.1890/ES11-00223.1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-50231DiVA: diva2:460707