Long-term changes and seasonal development of phytoplankton in a strongly stratified, hypertrophic lake

  • Kersti Kangro
  • Reet Laugaste
  • Peeter Nõges
  • Ingmar Ott
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 182)


Changes in the phytoplankton community of the hypertrophic, sharply stratified Lake Verevi have been studied over eight decades. Due to irregular discharge of urban wastewater, the trophic state of the lake has changed from moderately eutrophic to hypertrophic. We found that the trophic state in summer increased in the 1980s and remained at a hypertrophic level since then. Planktothrix agardhii was recorded first in the 1950s and became the dominant species in the 1980s, forming biomass maxima under the ice and in the metalimnion during the vegetation period. In summer 1989, P. agardhii contributed almost 100% of the phytoplankton biomass. Generally, the highest biomass values occurred in the metalimnion. In spring, when P. agardhii was less numerous, diatoms and cryptophytes prevailed. In springs 2000 and 2001 different diatoms dominated — Synedra acus var. angustissima (18.6 g m−3) and Cyclostephanos dubius (9.2 g m−3), respectively. In recent years, the spring overturn has been absent. In the conditions of strong thermal stratification sharp vertical gradients of light and nutrients caused a large number of vertically narrow niches in the water column. During a typical summer stage, the epilimnion, dominated by small flagellated chrysophytes, is nearly mesotrophic, and water transparency may reach 4 m. The lower part of the water column is hypertrophic with different species of cryptophytes and euglenophytes. A characteristic feature is the higher diversity of Chlorococcales. Often, species could form their peaks of biomass in very narrow layers, e.g. in August 2001 Ceratium hirundinella (18.6 g m−3) was found at a depth of 5 m (the lower part of the metalimnion with hypoxic conditions), Cryptomonas spp. (56 g m−3) at 6 m (with traces of oxygen and a relatively high content of dissolved organic matter) and euglenophytes (0.6 g m−3) at 7 m and deeper (without oxygen and a high content of dissolved organic matter).

Key words

phytoplankton long-term changes vertical distribution seasonal dynamics Planktothrix agardhii 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kersti Kangro
    • 1
  • Reet Laugaste
    • 1
  • Peeter Nõges
    • 1
  • Ingmar Ott
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Zoology and BotanyEstonian Agricultural UniversityRannu, Tartu CountyEstonia

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