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Effects of liming on nutrient limitation of epilithic algae in an acid lake

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The processes of lake acidification and lake restoration frequently involve major changes in DIC and DIN, both of which may potentially limit algal growth. We evaluate nutrient limitation of benthic algal biomass and species abundances during summers 1987 and 1989, before and after the liming of Lake Earnest (NE Pennsylvania) in November 1988. Limestone addition caused immediate increases in pH from 4.7 to 7.2. Alkalinity was −34 μeq L−1 in summer 1987, but rose to 620 μeq L−1 in summer 1989, whereas DIN declined from 10.7 μmol L−1 to 1.1 μmol L−1 The algae were sampled after 45 to 46 d from clay flower pot substrates diffusing combinations of N, P and C. Algal biomass was strongly C-limited in 1987, but NP-limited in 1989. Mougeotia sp., which comprised >99% of total algal biovolume prior to liming, declined to < 1% of the community on control substrates, while Oedogonium sp. increased to 43% of total biovolume in 1989. The stimulation of chlorophyll-a accrual with C-enrichment during 1987 was consistent with the later increase in chlorophyll-a on control substrates following liming. Species enhanced by the diffused nutrients, however, generally differed from those which dominated the natural community.

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Fairchild, G.W., Sherman, J.W. Effects of liming on nutrient limitation of epilithic algae in an acid lake. Water Air Soil Pollut 52, 133–147 (1990).

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  • Alkalinity
  • Algal Biomass
  • Algal Growth
  • Nutrient Limitation
  • Control Substrate