Phytotoxic effects of terrestrial dissolved organic matter on a freshwater cyanobacteria and green algae species is affected by plant source and DOM chemical composition
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Here we link plant source phylogeny to its chemical characteristics and determine parameters useful for predicting DOM phytotoxicity towards algal monocultures. We found that DOM characterised using UV–visible spectroscopic indices and elemental analysis is useful for distinguishing DOM plant sources. Specifically, combined values of absorbance at 440 nm and coefficients for the spectral slope ratio, were used to distinguish between gymnosperm-leached DOM and that from angiosperms. In our bioassays, DOM leached from 4 g leaf L−1 resulted in over 40% inhibition of photosynthetic yield for the cyanobacterium, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, for eight of the nine plants tested. Significant variables for predicting inhibition of yield were DOM exposure time and plant source, or using an alternate model, exposure time and spectroscopic and elemental measures. Our study proposes spectroscopic indices which can estimate a plant source's contribution to aquatic DOM, may provide insights into ecological outcomes, such as phytotoxicity to algae. The cyanobacterium (C. raciborskii) was more sensitive to DOM than a green algae (Monoraphidium spp.), as identified in a subsequent dose-response experiment with five different DOM plant sources. Low level additions of angiosperm derived-DOM (i.e. 0.5 g L−1) were slight phytotoxic to Monoraphidium spp. causing 30% inhibition of yield, while C. raciborskii was not affected. Higher DOM additions (i.e. 2 g L−1) caused 100% inhibition of yield for C. raciborskii, while Monoraphidium spp. inhibition remained under 30%. The divergence in algal sensitivity to DOM indicates that in aquatic systems, DOM derived from catchment vegetation has the potential to affect algal assemblages.
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified