, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 139–148 | Cite as

Structural adaptions of phytoplankton assemblages along two contrasting reservoirs

  • Jian TangEmail author
  • Huiqun Cao
Original Article


Differences in limnological and hydrological conditions between storage and run-of-river reservoirs caused variations in phytoplankton assemblages along the two types of reservoirs. Instead of exploring variations in phytoplankton assemblages along one type of reservoir, this study identified similarities and differences in phytoplankton assemblages along two types of reservoirs. Phytoplankton assemblages from Xiaowan (storage reservoir) and Manwan (run-of-river reservoir) reservoirs in the Lancang River, China were used as case study. Taxonomic approach and functional group method were used to compare phytoplankton assemblages at sampling sites located in impounded areas of reservoirs, free-flowing areas directly below reservoirs, and free-flowing intermediate areas between the two contrasting reservoirs. With the reduction of reservoir disturbance, phytoplankton assemblages in free-flowing intermediate areas between reservoirs will recover to rich and diverse. Because of the inoculation and dispersion of phytoplankton from the upstream reservoir, dominant functional groups at the sampling sites located in impounded areas of reservoirs and free-flowing areas directly below reservoirs were mainly represented by groups that prefer long water residence times. The functional group TB (Nitzschia lorenziana) and W2 (Strombomonas ensifera) could be used as useful indicators to determine hydrological conditions due to their strong sensitivity to water residence times. Results of the linear redundancy analysis demonstrated that phytoplankton assemblages were mainly affected by DO and flow. These results should aid river managers in acquiring better insight into the effect of cascade reservoirs on the biomass and structure of phytoplankton in the aquatic ecosystem.


Phytoplankton Storage reservoir Run-of-river reservoir Functional groups Lancang River 



This study was supported and funded by Key Special Project of the National Key Research and Development Program (Grant number 2016YFC0402309), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 51609008); and the Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province (Grant number 2016CFA092).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that can inappropriately influence our work. There is no professional or other personal interest of any nature or kind in any product, service and/or company that could be construed as influencing the position presented in, or the review of, the manuscript entitled.


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Copyright information

© Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Basin Water Environmental Research DepartmentChangjiang River Scientific Research InstituteWuhanChina
  2. 2.Key Lab of Basin Water Resource and Eco-environmental Science in Hubei ProvinceChangjiang River Scientific Research InstituteWuhanChina

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