Phytoplankton Succession in Lake Valencia, Venezuela

  • William M. LewisJr.
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 33)


Phytoplankton counts and supporting physical and chemical data were taken on Lake Valencia, Venezuela, over a five-year interval. The data are used to test the validity of a successional paradigm for class-level taxa. According to the paradigm, formulated from previous studies of Lake Lanao, Philippines, and from data on temperate lakes, the order of taxa from early to late succession is: diatoms, chlorophytes, blue-green algae, dinoflagellates. A successional episode is considered to begin when stability of a water column is restored after deep mixing. As the episode progresses, there is a steady decrease in concentration of the limiting macronutrient (in this case, N). In a test of the validity of the paradigm for Lake Valencia, dates of exceptional population increase or decrease were obtained for each taxon. Since nitrate concentration declines steadily as succession progresses, the entry of a given taxon into the successional sequence is indicated quantitatively by the mean nitrate concentration on dates of exceptional increase in population density, and exit from the successional sequence is indicated by mean nitrate concentration on dates of exceptional population declines. The successional position of each major taxon, bounded by its entry and exit in the sequence, can be mapped on the complete spectrum of nitrate concentrations observed in the lake. For Lake Valencia, the nitrate mapping procedure agrees exactly with the predictions based on the successional paradigm. Conformance of Lake Valencia phytoplankton with predictions made a priori suggests that there is a generalized pattern in the phytoplankton succession of the mixed layers of temperate and tropical lakes.


seasonality phytoplankton succession tropical lakes phytoplankton communities phytoplankton abundance 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • William M. LewisJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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