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Title:

Periphyton response to long-term nutrient enrichment in a shaded headwater stream

Author: Greenwood, Jennifer L.; Rosemond, Amy D.;

Date: 2009

Source: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences doi: 10.1139/F05-117

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description:

We maintained elevated but moderate concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus continuously for 2 years in a heavily shaded headwater stream and compared effects on stream periphyton with a reference stream. Both streams were sampled for 1 year before treatment. Some measures of periphyton biomass (ash-free dry mass and chlorophyll a) responded positively to enrichment. Increased chlorophyll a was likely a result of higher chlorophyll per cell, as total algal biovolume did not change with enrichment. These differences were greatest during high-light months (November-May), when cellular growth rates (a proxy for production) were also highest with enrichment. Algal assemblages were dominated by diatoms and remained similar between the treatment and reference streams throughout the enrichment period. Although nutrients stimulated algal growth rates, the long-term effects of nutrient addition on periphyton biomass were small in magnitude compared with other published values and were potentially suppressed by light availability and invertebrate consumption. These and other factors may have also been important in limiting the algal species pool and thus a taxonomic response to enrichment. Our results indicate that in headwater streams with intact tree canopies, chronic nutrient enrichment at moderate concentrations may have little detectable effect on benthic algal composition or periphyton biomass. Although nutrients stimulated algal growth rates, the long-term effects of nutrient addition on periphyton biomass were small in magnitude compared with other published values and were potentially suppressed by light availability and invertebrate consumption. These and other factors may have also been important in limiting the algal species pool and thus a taxonomic response to enrichment. Our results indicate that in headwater streams with intact tree canopies, chronic nutrient enrichment at moderate concentrations may have little detectable effect on benthic algal composition or periphyton biomass.

Publication Notes:

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Citation:


Greenwood, Jennifer L.; Rosemond Amy D. 2005. Periphyton response to long-term nutrient enrichment in a shaded headwater stream. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 62(9): 2033-2045. doi: 10.1139/F05-117

 


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