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Ecological restoration and factors regulating phytoplankton community in a hypertrophic shallow lake, Lake Taihu, China

Ke, Zhixin, Xie, Ping, Guo, Longgen
Acta ecologica Sinica 2019 v.39 no.1 pp. 81-88
Crustacea, Cyanobacteria, ecological restoration, ecosystem engineering, lakes, macrophytes, nutrients, pH, phytoplankton, pollution load, temperature, variance, water quality, zooplankton, China
A restoration program for the control of cyanobacterial blooms and the re-establishment of submerged macrophytes was conducted in Meiliang Bay of Lake Taihu since 2003. The effect of this ecological projects on plankton community and water quality, and factors regulating phytoplankton community were investigated in 2005. In general, some improvements of water quality occurred in the ecological restoration region, especially in the region of restoring aquatic macrophytes, where we detected significant reduction of nutrients. However, it seems the abundance of phytoplankton cannot be effectively control by the present ecological engineering. The phytoplankton abundance was high in the target restoration zone. Results of CCA and correlation analysis indicate that the phytoplankton community was mainly controlled by physico-chemical factors. Cyanobacteria species were positively related with pH, temperature, TP and TSS, while negatively related with TN, TN/TP and conductivity. The most discriminant variable was TN/TP, which explained 15% of the total variance of phytoplankton. However, TN was more important for the fluctuation of TN/TP than TP. It suggested that TN may be the ultimate factor controlling the phytoplankton community in Lake Taihu. Variation partitioning analysis showed that the pure contribution of crustacean was low for the variation of phytoplankton, suggesting that top-down control by crustacean zooplankton was weak in Lake Taihu. In general, this study suggested the reduction of nutrient load should be more important than top-down control using zooplankton for the ecosystem restoration in Lake Taihu.