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N-limited consumer growth and low nutrient regeneration N:P ratios in lakes with low N deposition
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
2015 (English)In: Ecosphere, ISSN 2150-8925, E-ISSN 2150-8925, Vol. 6, no 1, 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Nutrient limitation of primary producers and their consumers can have a large influence on ecosystem productivity. The nature and strength of nutrient limitation is driven both by external factors (e.g., nutrient loading) and internal processes (e.g., consumer-driven nutrient regeneration). Here we present results from a field study in 10 low productive headwater lakes in northern subarctic Sweden, where nitrogen (N) deposition is low and phytoplankton is primarily N-limited. We assessed the carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (C:N:P) stoichiometry of seston and zooplankton and estimated the N:P ratio of consumer-driven nutrient regeneration. Based on stoichiometric models, the estimated elemental imbalances between seston and zooplankton suggest that zooplankton were mainly N-limited and regenerated nutrients with low N:P ratios (median 11.9, atomic ratio). The predicted N:P regeneration ratios were consistent with results from phytoplankton nutrient limitation bioassays in mid-summer, i.e., the N:P regeneration was predicted to be low when phytoplankton were N-limited, and high when phytoplankton were P-limited. During other seasons, when water discharge was high, nutrient loading from the surrounding catchments apparently had the strongest effect on phytoplankton nutrient limitation. We propose that lakes with higher N:P ratios than the open ocean is an effect of N deposition, that N-limitation of consumers and phytoplankton is further enhanced by low nutrient regeneration N:P ratios, and that in the absence of N deposition, lake and ocean N:P stoichiometry are similar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 6, no 1, 9
Keyword [en]
consumer driven nutrient cycling, ecological stoichiometry, nitrogen, nutrient limitation, phosphorus, ytoplankton, zooplankton
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-102480DOI: 10.1890/ES14-00333.1ISI: 000350440400009OAI: diva2:808205
Available from: 2015-04-27 Created: 2015-04-26 Last updated: 2016-05-19Bibliographically approved

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Bergström, Ann-KristinKarlsson, DanielKarlsson, Jan
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