Littoral eutrophication indicators are more closely related to nearshore land use than to water nutrient concentrations: A critical evaluation of stressor-response relationships
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AuthorsSchneider, Susanne C.
Budzakoska Gjoreska, Biljana
Eriksen, Tor Erik
Lynn Kemp, Joanna
Vermaat, Jan E.
Article (Published version)
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Biological assessmentmetrics and water chemistry measurements are used to quantify the link between stressors and their effects on lake ecosystems, for the Water Framework Directive. However, correlations between metrics andwater chemistry are often poor. This is seen as majorweaknesses ofWater Framework Directive-relatedmonitoring and assessment.We analyzed macrophytes, benthic algae, benthic macroinvertebrates, water chemistry and sediment total phosphorus content in the littoral of six lakes in the Western Balkans and used CORINE land use data to estimate nutrient enrichment via runoff from the adjacent land. Lakes with a higher estimated phosphorus runoff fromthe adjacent land did not have higher littoralwater nutrient concentrations, but littoral diatom assemblages indicated more eutrophic conditions. These lakes also had higher abundances of littoral benthic primaryproducers, which in turnwere associatedwithlowconcentrations of dissolved nutrients, but only in autumn, no...t in spring. This is consistent with primary producers taking up nutrients during the summer growth season. In lakeswith high abundances of benthic primary producers, it is likely that the littoral vegetation plays a large role in the transfer of nutrients from the water to the benthos. This process impairs correlations between biological metrics and water nutrient concentrations. Our results suggest that CORINE land cover may be more useful to characterize littoral nutrient enrichment than lake water chemistry. Increased benthic primary producer biomasses and “eutrophic” diatom indicesmay indicate littoral nutrient enrichment even ifwater nutrient concentrations are low
Keywords:Littoral / Macrophytes / Eutrophication / Nutrient cycling / Water Framework Directive / Diatoms
Source:Science of the Total Environment, 2020, 748, 141193-
- The project was financially supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (STAR-WALK).