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Analysis of long-term ecological status of Lake Balaton based on the ALMOBAL phytoplankton database
- Hajnal, Éva, Padisák, Judit
- Hydrobiologia 2008 v.599 no.1 pp. 227-237
- biomass, community structure, computers, databases, eutrophication, global change, lakes, phytoplankton, statistical analysis, water quality, watersheds, Hungary
- Lake Balaton (Hungary), one of the largest lakes in Europe, has undergone eutrophication and restoration during the last two decades. The first quantitative phytoplankton records date back to the 1930s, and since that time thousands of data have been published or accumulated in counting protocols or computer sheets. These data provide material for both scientific analyses (e.g. effects of global change) and applications (e.g. estimation of reference state for the Water Framework Directive). The ALMOBAL phytoplankton database was developed to provide computing support for these applications. It stores data in standardized forms, handles synonyms and allows analyses to be conducted on the basis of floral records, numbers or biomass. The analysis includes records of about 3000 phytoplankton samples taken during the past 60 years from two representative basins in Lake Balaton. This article represents the first attempt at historical reconstruction of the ecological status and compares it with changes in trophic state and current water quality. The results indicate that the phytoplankton biomass and community structure found in the early 1960s could be regarded as reference conditions. Statistical analyses support the view that late summer phytoplankton assemblages are the most sensitive indicators of trophic change, and clearly show the eutrophication of the lake that occurred from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s and the restoration during the last decade. An additional advantage is that, since quality estimation is based on relative biomass, the method can be used to reconstruct water quality in cases when counting protocols are available, but some basic data for quantitative estimates are missing.