, Volume 829, Issue 1, pp 167–187 | Cite as

Impact of nutrient loading on phytoplankton: a mesocosm experiment in the eutrophic Lake Taihu, China

  • Yanqing Ding
  • Hai Xu
  • Jianming Deng
  • Boqiang QinEmail author
  • Youwen He
Primary Research Paper


An increased nutrient loading drives eutrophication of lake ecosystems. Nutrient loading has two different origins: (1) internal loading due to nutrients release from sediments and (2) external loading due to nutrients entering the lake ecosystem from catchment and atmospheric deposition. A 10-day mesocosm experiment was conducted to assess the effects of two nutrient origins on algal photosynthetic capacity, biomass, and phytoplankton community composition of Lake Taihu in the Yangtze River zone. The experiment was specifically designed to mimic (1) internal loading including sediment release in both static and turbulent situations, and (2) external loading including addition of P only, N only, and co-addition of both N and P. Sediment resuspension significantly increased nutrient loading and decreased algal photosynthetic capacity. Resuspension brought benthic algae into water column, resulting in an increase of algal biomass. Nutrient addition significantly changed N:P ratios and phytoplankton community composition. Nutrient addition optimized the dominant species. N Addition favored cyanobacteria reproduction, while P addition did not benefit algal growth and chlorophytes was the dominant in summer. With N and P co-addition, both cyanobacteria and chlorophytes were dominant. Hence, a long-term nutrient management strategy for Taihu watershed should reduce the inputs of both N and P.


Sediment Nutrient enrichment Fv:Fm ratio Resuspension Phytoplankton community composition Lake Taihu 



We are grateful to the Lake Taihu Laboratory for Lake Ecosystem Research which provided the experiment platform. This work was funded through the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41501518, 41621002), Sino-French international collaborative research project (41661134036) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20140184). And it also was supported by State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment (2016SKL006) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2014QNA86).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanqing Ding
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hai Xu
    • 2
  • Jianming Deng
    • 2
  • Boqiang Qin
    • 2
    Email author
  • Youwen He
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Resource and GeosciencesChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Taihu Laboratory for Lake Ecosystem Research, State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment,Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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