Dinophyta Characterise Nitrogen Scarcity More Strongly than Cyanobacteria in Moderately Deep Lakes
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A survey of the summer phytoplankton communities of thirty-six moderately-deep north temperate lowland lakes showed that the proportions of Dinophyta and non-heterocyst-bearing cyanobacteria taxa, measured as biovolume, were inversely related to the total nitrogen: total phosphorus (TN:TP) ratio and that these groups were predominant in lakes where available nitrogen fell to undetectable concentrations. The proportion of heterocyst-bearing cyanobacteria was positively correlated to the TN:TP ratio and nitrate. Dinophyta and/or non-heterocystous cyanobacteria were prevalent in lakes with the highest epilimnion nutrient concentrations, whilst heterocystous cyanobacteria predominated in lakes with moderate nutrient concentrations. It is argued that the ability of Dinophyta to migrate vertically and to supplement their nutrient requirements though heterotrophy may enable them to be at least as successful as Cyanobacteria in high nutrient lakes and in overcoming nitrogen-scarcity. Our findings provide evidence that Dinophyta can be used as indicators of water quality.
Microbiology not elsewhere classified