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Changes in Phytoplankton Community Composition and Phytoplankton Cell Size in Response to Nitrogen Availability Depend on Temperature

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  • Veronika Dashkova, Nazarbayev University
  • ,
  • Dmitry V. Malashenkov, Nazarbayev University, National Laboratory Astana
  • ,
  • Assel Baishulakova, Nazarbayev University
  • ,
  • Thomas A. Davidson
  • Ivan A. Vorobjev, Nazarbayev University
  • ,
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Natasha S. Barteneva, Nazarbayev University

The climate-driven changes in temperature, in combination with high inputs of nutrients through anthropogenic activities, significantly affect phytoplankton communities in shallow lakes. This study aimed to assess the effect of nutrients on the community composition, size distribution, and diversity of phytoplankton at three contrasting temperature regimes in phosphorus (P)–enriched mesocosms and with different nitrogen (N) availability imitating eutrophic environments. We applied imaging flow cytometry (IFC) to evaluate complex phytoplankton communities changes, particularly size of planktonic cells, biomass, and phytoplankton composition. We found that N enrichment led to the shift in the dominance from the bloom-forming cyanobacteria to the mixed-type blooming by cyanobacteria and green algae. Moreover, the N enrichment stimulated phytoplankton size increase in the high-temperature regime and led to phytoplankton size decrease in lower temperatures. A combination of high temperature and N enrichment resulted in the lowest phytoplankton diversity. Together these findings demonstrate that the net effect of N and P pollution on phytoplankton communities depends on the temperature conditions. These implications are important for forecasting future climate change impacts on the world’s shallow lake ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1322
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • biodiversity, biovolume, cell size, climate change, eutrophication, imaging flow cytometry, mesocosm, nitrogen pollution, phytoplankton, temperature

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