Interactive Effects of Nutrients and Salinity on Phytoplankton in Subtropical Plateau Lakes of Contrasting Water Depths

Ying Wang, Xia Jiang, Yan Ling Li, Li Juan Yang, Ye Hao Li, Ying Liu, Long Zhou, Pu Ze Wang, Xu Zhao, Hai Jun Wang*, Erik Jeppesen, Ping Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Eutrophication and salinization are serious global environmental problems in freshwater ecosystems, occasionally acting jointly to exert harmful effects on aquatic ecosystems. To elucidate the interactive effects of nutrients and salinity on phytoplankton assemblages, we conducted a four-season study during 2020–2021 of eight lakes from Yunnan Plateau (Southwest China) with a wide range of conductivities (Cond, reflecting degree of salinization), eutrophic states, and water depths and used General Additive Modeling (GAM) of the data. We found that: (1) species number (SN), density (DPhyt), and biomass (BPhyt) of phytoplankton showed stronger seasonal dynamics in shallow lakes than in deep lakes, all being, as expected, higher in the warm season; (2) annual and summer data revealed highly significant positive relationships between SN, DPhyt, and BPhyt with total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP), which became weaker at high TP occurring when the N:P ratio was low, indicating N limitation; (3) SN, DPhyt, and BPhyt showed a unimodal relationship with salinity, peaking at 400–1000 μS/cm (Cond); (4) the two dominant taxa (cyanobacteria and chlorophyta) showed different patterns, with chlorophyta generally dominating at low TN and cyanobacteria at high TN and Cond, suggesting the synergistic effect of nitrogen and Cond on cyanobacterial dominance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • eutrophication
  • interactive influence
  • phytoplankton
  • plateau lakes
  • salinization
  • water depth


Dive into the research topics of 'Interactive Effects of Nutrients and Salinity on Phytoplankton in Subtropical Plateau Lakes of Contrasting Water Depths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this