Factors associated with interannual and intraannual variation in nutrient limitation of phytoplankton growth in castle lake, California

James Elser, F. S. Lubnow, E. R. Marzolf, M. T. Brett, G. Dion, C. R. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a 3-year study of Castle Lake, California, potential nutrient (N,P) limitation of phytoplankton growth occurred rapidly (within 1-4 d of ice-out). Both N and P acted as potential limiting factors to phytoplankton growth in short-term (4-5 d) bioassays. Phytoplankton responded strongly to single additions of N or P in 1990 and 1992 but weakly so in 1991. This difference was associated with low inorganic N concentrations during spring 1991. In 1998 and 1991, variation of the primary limiting element correlated with the N:P ratio of the zooplankton community; phytoplankton tended to be N limited when the zooplankton was dominated by species with high N:P ratios (Diaptomus novamexicanus and Diacyclops thomasi: N:P ratios, by mass = 10.6-12.5) but limited by P when low N:P taxa (Daphrziar rosea, N:P = 4.7) dominated. However, N vs. P limitation and zooplankton elemental data for 1992 did not fit the 1990-1991 pattern and there was no correlation for the 3-year data set. A field experiment demonstrated that the inorganic N:P ratio (NH4/SRP) increased dramatically with elevated Daphrzia grazing but declined significantly with increased Diaptomus; this supported the 1990-1991 correlation between phytoplankton N/P limitation status and zooplankton community elemental ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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