Phytoplankton community and limnochemistry of Piburger See (Tyrol, Austria) 28 years after lake restoration

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Monica TOLOTTI *
Hansjörg THIES
(*) Corresponding Author:
Monica TOLOTTI | Monica.Tolotti@uibk.ac.at

Abstract

Phytoplankton community and limnochemistry of Piburger See, a small soft-water, meromictic lake situated at 913 m a.s.l. in a crystalline area of the Central Eastern Alps of Tyrol (Austria), were investigated 28 years after the beginning of lake restoration. Although long-term data of the lake show a declining trend in total phosphorus concentrations and phytoplankton biovolume, the response of Piburger See to the restoration measures carried out in 1970 was delayed by about 20 years. At present the lake is approaching its former oligotrophic level. The most evident difference between the past and present phytoplankton species composition of Piburger See is the actual absence of the Cyanophycean Oscillatoria limosa C. A. Agardh, which markedly increased during the first two decades after the lake restoration (1970-1987). The phytoplankton biovolume recorded in 1998 was lower than in the 1970s and 1980s, while seasonal patterns were similar to those recorded before and later on in the lake restoration. The lowest annual phytoplankton biovolume in 1998 occurred in early winter, while the absolute maximum was observed in metalimnetic water layers in late spring. In 1998 the intra-annual patterns of phytoplankton biovolume and chlorophyll-a compare well. Phytoplankton succession started in early 1998 under ice with coccal green algae followed by flagellated Chrysophyceae during spring. The mid-summer phytoplankton community was dominated by centric Bacillariophyceae, which were later replaced by coccal Cyanophyceae. During autumn, Dinophyceae and Chrysophyceae prevailed. Epilimnetic dominance of centric diatoms during mid summer appears to be a new feature, which in 1998 was related to a strong depletion of dissolved silica and nitrate. Long-term water chemistry and phytoplankton data were checked against local weather data in order to explain the delay in the re-oligotrophication process of Piburger See. However, no clear relationship could be detected between the trends observed in the lake and weather conditions during the past 30 years.

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