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Positive and negative effects of allochthonous dissolved organic matter and inorganic nutrients on phytoplankton growth

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Dissolved organic matter (DOM) can have both positive and negative effects on phytoplankton growth. The magnitude of these effects may vary depending on the source of DOM and the composition of the phytoplankton community. Here, I address the relative importance of the positive and negative effects of DOM extracts on phytoplankton growth. In short-term experiments with phytoplankton from West Long Lake, a small, moderately coloured lake in northern Michigan, U.S.A., the net effect of doubling ambient DOM on phytoplankton growth was positive. Increasing DOM concentrations from ~10 mg C·L–1 to ~20 mg C·L–1 had a negative effect on total phytoplankton growth by reducing irradiance and thus reducing the depth to which growth was positive. However, inorganic nutrients in the DOM extracts increased growth at each irradiance level. The positive effect on phytoplankton growth owing to the nutrients associated with DOM was greater than the negative effect caused by shading. Although the positive effects of allochthonous DOM inputs outweighed the negative effects for the nutrient-limited phytoplankton in these experiments, the net effect depends on the concentration and availability of nutrients associated with allochthonous DOM as well as the physiological status of the phytoplankton community.

La matière organique dissoute (DOM) peut avoir des effets tant positifs que négatifs sur la croissance du phytoplancton. L'importance de ces effets peut varier selon la source de DOM et la composition de la communauté phytoplanctonique. La présente étude cherche à déterminer l'importance relative des effets positifs et négatifs d'extraits de DOM sur la croissance du phytoplancton. Dans des expériences à court terme sur le phytoplancton de West Long Lake, un petit lac aux eaux moyennement colorées du nord du Michigan, É.-U., le dédoublement de la DOM ambiante a un effet positif sur la croissance du phytoplancton. L'augmentation des concentrations de DOM de ~10 mg C·L–1 à ~20 mg C·L–1 a un effet négatif sur la croissance du phytoplancton total en réduisant l'irradiance, diminuant ainsi la profondeur jusqu'à laquelle la croissance est positive. Cependant, les nutriments inorganiques dans les extraits de DOM augmentent la croissance, à tous les niveaux d'irradiance. L'effet positif des nutriments associés à la DOM sur la croissance du phytoplancton est plus grand que l'effet négatif de l'ombrage. Bien que les effets positifs des apports allochtones de DOM dépassent les effets négatifs dans ces expériences chez du phytoplancton qui est limité par la carence de nutriments, l'effet net dépendra de la concentration et de la disponibilité des nutriments associés à la DOM allochtone, de même que de l'état physiologique de la communauté phytoplanctonique.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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