Biomass and species structure of the phytoplankton of an high mountain lake (Lake Paione Superiore, Central Alps, Italy)

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Alessandra PUGNETTI *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alessandra PUGNETTI |


In the framework of the EU MOLAR Project on “Measuring and modelling the dynamic response of remote mountain lake ecosystems to environmental change” a three whole-year study (1996-1998) on the composition and dynamics of phytoplankton community of the high mountain lake, acid sensitive Lago Paione Superiore (LPS) was carried out. The data were analyzed and compared with those gathered during the years 1991-1993. The phytoplankton was made up by nanoplanktonic unicellular algae, the only exception being the colonial Dinobryon sertularia. Just four species, belonging to Chrysophyceae (Chromulina sp., Dinobryon sertularia and Mallomonas alveolata) and to Dinophyceae (Gymnodinium sp.) were important as biomass and density, and they were always present throughout the year. The prevalence of potentially mixotrophic species suggests an adaptive strategy to the low environmental concentrations of inorganic carbon and phosphorus. The seasonal variations of the total biomass were similar to those observed in the previous years. The total number of species has increased; this could be related with the recent increase of the pH and of the alkalinity.

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