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AN ECOLOGICAL REVIEW OF CLADOPHORA GLOMERATA (CHLOROPHYTA) IN THE LAURENTIAN GREAT LAKES

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Abstract:

Cladophora glomerata (L.) Kütz. is, potentially, the most widely distributed macroalga throughout the world’s freshwater ecosystems. C. glomerata has been described throughout North America, Europe, the Atlantic Islands, the Caribbean Islands, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Cladophora blooms were a common feature of the lower North American Great Lakes (Erie, Michigan, Ontario) from the 1950s through the early 1980s and were largely eradicated through the implementation of a multibillion-dollar phosphorus (P) abatement program. The return of widespread blooms in these lakes since the mid-1990s, however, was not associated with increases in P loading. Instead, current evidence indicates that the resurgence in blooms was directly related to ecosystem level changes in substratum availability, water clarity, and P recycling associated with the establishment of dense colonies of invasive dreissenid mussels. These results support the hypothesis that dreissenid mussel invasions may induce dramatic shifts in energy and nutrient flow from pelagic zones to the benthic zone.

Keywords: Cladophora ecology; dreissenid mussels; exotic species; macroalgal blooms

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2008.00538.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada 2: Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch, Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 125 Resources Road, Etobicoke, Ontario M9P 3V6, Canada 3: School of Environmental Studies and Department of Biology, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada 4: National Waters Research Institute, Environment Canada, 867 Lakeshore Road, P.O. Box 5050, Bington, Ontario L7R 4A6, Canada

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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