AME 36:213-226 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/ame036213

Factors regulating the recruitment of cyanobacterial and eukaryotic phytoplankton from littoral and profundal sediments

K. Rengefors*, S. Gustafsson, A. Ståhl-Delbanco

Limnology, Department of Ecology, Lund University, Ecology Building, 223 62 Lund, Sweden

ABSTRACT: Many phytoplankton species produce resting cysts, forming Œseed banks¹ on lake sediments until they germinate and provide inocula (recruitment) for future pelagic populations. We have addressed the question of whether the littoral or the profundal zone provides the inoculum for planktonic populations in a eutrophic and dimictic lake (Lake Erken, Sweden). Our hypotheses were that high temperature, light, and sediment mixing would enhance recruitment. Also, we hypothesized that recruitment from littoral sediments would be greater than from profundal sediments. In situ recruitment traps were utilized to compare littoral and profundal recruitment, while laboratory experiments were performed to analyze which factors were most important. Seven common taxa were investigated: Asterionella formosa (Bacillariophyceae), Ceratium hirundinella (Dinophyceae), Microcystis botrys, M. wesenbergii, Anabaena sp., A. solitaria, and A. lemmermannii (Cyanobacteria). Our main findings were that light and sediment mixing were the most important factors in triggering and enhancing recruitment in the laboratory. Temperature and sediment origin (littoral/profundal) had a significant effect on recruitment only for A. lemmermannii and C. hirundinella, respectively. The field experiments showed that recruitment at the littoral site was much higher than at the profundal site, where little or no recruitment occurred. Together, these results strongly suggest that littoral sediments in temperate lakes provide inocula for most phytoplankton populations, likely due to favorable light conditions and high sediment mixing.


KEY WORDS: Phytoplankton · Recruitment · Germination · Seed bank · Littoral sediments · Profundal sediments · Cysts · Resting cells


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