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Effects of sediment nutrients and depth on small-scale spatial heterogeneity of submersed macrophyte communities in Lake Pleasant, Pennsylvania

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Sediment concentrations of total and available nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and organic matter from the littoral zone of Lake Pleasant, Pennsylvania, were highly variable. Only organic matter and total N were correlated with depth, however. This result suggests the existence of more complex environmental gradients than the prevailing paradigm of monotonic changes in sediment characteristics with increasing depth. The spatial heterogeneity of submersed aquatic plant communities was significantly correlated with depth, and available N and P. Canonical correspondence analysis demonstrated that these three factors explained 38% of the variance in community structure. Other sediment characteristics (available K, organic matter, and total N, P and K) were not significant by themselves, but all variables combined explained 63% of community-structure variance. Cluster analysis identified species or groups of species typical of endpoints on the depth versus nutrient axes. Myriophyllum exalbescens was typical of deep sites with relatively nutrient-rich sediments, whereas deep nutrient-poor sites were dominated by Vallisneria americana and Megalodonta beckii. Shallow nutrient-rich sites were dominated by several species of Potamogeton and Elodea canadensis, and shallow nutrient-poor sites were dominated by Heteranthera dubia and Najas flexilis. These results demonstrate the importance of sediment characteristics in determining macrophytes' community structure within lakes.

Les concentrations de azone (N), phosphore (P) et potassium (K) totaux et disponibles et de matière organique dans les sédiments de la zone littorale du lac Pleasant en Pennsylvanie sont très variables. Cependant, seuls le N total et la matière organique sont en corrélation avec la profondeur. Cette observation indique l'existence de gradients environnementaux plus complexes que de simples changements monotones des caractéristiques des sédiments en fonction de la profondeur, comme le veut le paradigme dominant actuel. L'hétérogénéité spatiale des plantes aquatiques submergées est en corrélation significative avec la profondeur et N et P disponibles. Une analyse des correspondances canoniques montre que ces trois facteurs expliquent 38 % de la variance de la structure de communauté. Les autres caractéristiques des sédiments (K disponible, matière organique et N, P et K totaux) ne sont pas significatives par elles-mêmes, mais toutes les variables combinées expliquent 63 % de la variance de la structure de communauté. Des analyses de groupement permettent d'identifier les espèces ou les groupes d'espèces typiques des points terminaux des axes des nutriments en fonction de la profondeur. Myriophyllum exalbescens est caractéristique des sites profonds à sédiments relativement riches en nutriments, alors que Vallisneria americana et Megalodonta beckii prédominent dans les sites profonds pauvres en nutriments. Plusieurs espèces de Potamogeton et Elodea canadensis prédominent dans les sites peu profonds riches en nutriments et Heteranthera dubia et Najas flexilis le font dans les sites peu profonds, mais pauvres en nutriments. Ces résultats démontrent l'importance des caractéristiques des sédiments pour expliquer la structure des communautés de macrophytes dans les lacs.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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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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