Chemotaxonomic responses of autotrophic periphyton communities to nutrient additions in pools of an intermittent stream

Iles, Jordan A., Pettit, Neil E., Cawthray, Greg, and Grierson, Pauline F. (2022) Chemotaxonomic responses of autotrophic periphyton communities to nutrient additions in pools of an intermittent stream. Freshwater Biology, 67 (12). pp. 2148-2160.

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Abstract

1. The algal groups present in periphyton communities form an important base of autochthonous food webs in freshwater streams. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are key macronutrients in aquatic systems. Excess nutrients benefit some algal groups over others.

2. We paired a nutrient-diffusing substrata limitation experiment with high performance liquid chromatography to (a) identify which nutrient(s) limit periphyton production, and (b) how the periphyton biomass and community structure changes between isolated pools of differing hydrological characteristics along an intermittent dryland stream.

3. Unique peaks for 21 pigments were identified and matched with published values. We then produced a PERMANOVA model using pigment ratios and CHEMTAX analysis to explore changes in community structure resulting from nutrient addition.

4. Periphyton communities in these pools were co-limited by N and P. Nitrogen additions caused the periphyton to shift from diatom- to chlorophyte-dominated community structure and benefited cyanophyta growth. Phosphorus additions reduced the relative proportion of diatoms and also resulted in an increase in pheophoribide-a, a pigment indicative of cell lysis, demonstrating a detrimental impact of P additions.

5. Outcomes of this study show that when adding nutrient to a system there may be subtle shifts in community composition which can be telescoped up the food web regardless of the system's nutrient status.

Item ID: 77290
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2427
Keywords: algae, intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams, nitrogen, nutrient limitation, phosphorus, pigment analysis
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2022 The Authors. Freshwater Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP120200002
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2023 01:00
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 60%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410504 Surface water quality processes and contaminated sediment assessment @ 20%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180306 Measurement and assessment of freshwater quality (incl. physical and chemical conditions of water) @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180301 Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems @ 50%
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