Riverine phytoplankton shifting along a lentic-lotic continuum under hydrological, physiochemical conditions and species dispersal

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  • Yueming Qu, Universität Kiel, Germany
  • Naicheng Wu
  • ,
  • Björn Guse, CAU Kiel, Germany
  • Nicola Fohrer, Universität Kiel, Germany

The importance of phytoplankton-based bio-assessment has been recently recognized in lowland rivers which are affected by multi-environmental factors. However, some basic questions remain unclear to date, such as: (i) spatial and temporal variations of phytoplankton, (ii) the impact of upstream lakes on downstream community, (iii) the main drivers for species composition or (iv) the regional biodiversity along a lentic-lotic continuum. To answer these questions, we collected and analyzed the fluvial phytoplankton communities along a lentic-lotic continuum from a German lowland catchment, where a well-established ecohydrological modeling predicted long-term discharges at each sampling site. Our results revealed very high spatial and temporal variations of phytoplankton community. The changes of a lake on downstream phytoplankton assemblages were significant, especially the nearest reach after the lake. However, these influences varied along with seasons and limited in a relatively short distance to the lake. Redundancy analysis and Mantel tests showed that phytoplankton composition and dissimilarities along the lentic-lotic continuum attributed more to local hydrological and physicochemical variables than species dispersal, which confirmed the suitability of lowland phytoplankton-based bioassessment. In addition, our findings highlighted the importance of flow regime in shaping phytoplankton community composition and regional beta diversities. This study emphasized the necessity to include the hydrological variables and their relationship with phytoplankton community in future bio-monitoring investigations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Pages (from-to)1628-1636
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Hydrological regimes, Lentic-lotic continuum, Lowland river, Physiochemical condition, Riverine phytoplankton, Species dispersal

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