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Planktonic responses to nitrogen and phosphorus deposition - a natural alpine pond experiment Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
phosphorus
zooplankton
phytoplankton
alpine ponds
nitrogen
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zettel, James
Supervisor and department
Vinebrooke, Rolf (Biological Scienes)
Examining committee member and department
St Louis, Vincent (Biological Sciences)
Schindler, David (Biological Sciences)
Douglas, Marianne (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department
Department of Biological Sciences
Specialization

Date accepted
2010-08-19T17:32:11Z
Graduation date
2010-11
Degree
Master of Science
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
Several lines of evidence suggest small alpine lakes and ponds are sensitive to nitrogen deposition. Paleolimnological studies, nutrient bioassays, and mesocosm experiments show the positive effects of nitrogen on aquatic alpine primary producers. In particular, alpine pond ecosystems have been inferred to be nitrogen-limited based on low availability of dissolved inorganic nitrogen relative to total phosphorus. However, nitrogen-limitation of alpine ponds has never been tested at the whole-ecosystem level. I performed a replicated in situ whole-pond experiment, consisting of two crossed treatments (2 nitrogen x 2 phosphorus levels) applied across 16 natural alpine ponds (n = 4) immediately following ice-out in 2008. Surprisingly, neither nutrient amendment stimulated phytoplankton or zooplankton abundance although subtle shifts in community composition were detected over a two-month period. Intensive grazing pressure exerted by high densities (> 100 individuals/ m2) of herbivorous Branchinecta paludosa (fairy shrimp) may have suppressed planktonic responses to nutrient additions. Another ecological explanation for the lack of a positive effect of nutrients on phytoplankton abundance was competition from periphyton, which are comparatively more abundant in most shallow ponds on an areal basis. Therefore, density-dependent ecological interactions (competition and predation) may mediate the responses of phytoplankton to nitrogen deposition over ponds situated in extreme environments.
Language
English
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Microsoft Word - Zettel thesis july 5 2010.doc
File author: Freshwater Biodiversity Lab
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