Morpho-Functional Groups and phytoplankton development in two deep lakes (Lake Garda, Italy and Lake Stechlin, Germany)

Nico Salmaso, Judit Padisák

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157 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phylogenetic classifications of plants often do not reflect their ecological functions. In fact, the functional mechanisms of biological communities may be better understood if species are pooled into groups having similar characteristics. The objective of this work is to evaluate, with the use of multivariate methods, classifications based on the morphological and functional characteristics (size and form, mobility, potential mixotrophy, nutrient requirements, presence of gelatinous envelopes) of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae to explain the seasonal dynamic of the phytoplankton community. The analyses involve data from two deep lakes: Lake Garda, southern Alps, zmax = 350 m; biennium 2002-2003) and Lake Stechlin (north-east Germany, zmax = 67 m; 1995, 1998 and 2001). In both lakes, the temporal evolution of the phytoplankton communities within individual years followed a regular annual cycle, with the exception of Lake Stechlin in 1998, when an irregular phytoplankton pattern was caused by a sudden mass appearance of Planktothrix rubescens in the spring and summer months, resulting in a collapse of the whole community in autumn. Overall, the temporal developments of the phytoplankton communities obtained on the basis of patterns of the morpho-functional groups appeared highly comparable with those obtained, in the single years, on the basis of the original phytoplankton species matrices. The comparison of the morpho-functional groups of the lakes Garda and Stechlin showed important differences in the abundance and seasonality of the dominant phytoplankton types. The results obtained in this study underline that the use of classifications based on the adaptive strategies of the single species may represent a useful tool to investigate the community evolution and to compare phytoplankton assemblages of different lakes, overcoming problems related to possible differences of taxonomic accuracy and identification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume578
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2007

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Keywords

  • Deep lakes
  • Morpho-Functional groups
  • Phytoplankton
  • Seasonal cycles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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