Periphyton changes over 20 years of chemical recovery of Lake Orta, Italy: differential response to perturbation of littoral and pelagic communities
AbstractLake Orta, a large Italian subalpine lake, has a long history of industrial pollution by acid, ammonia, and metals. A whole-lake liming treatment in 1989-1990 led to a gradual increase in pH (from 4.4 to 7) and a concomitant decline in ammonia (from 2.5 to 0.05 mg L-1) and metal concentrations (e.g., copper: from 35 to 3 μg L-1). In this study, we examine the response of the littoral zone, in terms of chemistry and periphyton assemblages, to contamination and recovery of Lake Orta. We compare these findings with a long-term data set of chemistry and phytoplankton collected in the pelagic zone. We sampled periphyton at two sites from the liming period (1989) through 2010 when the lake approached chemical equilibrium. Chemical variables collected in the littoral zone near the periphyton samples followed the same temporal trends observed in the pelagic zone. Chlorophytes, the dominant algae in the preliming period, progressively waned after the calcium carbonate addition. Diatom importance gradually increased to reach up to 80% of the total biovolume in the most recent years. There was a clear shift in the diatom taxonomic composition over the study period. Acidophilous Pinnularia subcapitata var. hilseana and metal-tolerant Achnanthes minutissima were dominant before liming. With the progressive increase in pH and decline in metal concentrations, there was successively the dominance of Fragilaria nanoides (formerly identified as Synedra tenera) and Cymbella microcephala in the transition period and of circumneutral Navicula cryptocephala, N. radiosa, and Synedra ulna in the most recent period. Pelagic diatoms were more affected than benthic diatoms by the industrial pollution and their recovery after the liming intervention was slower. Whereas present periphyton diatom assemblages are similar to those observed in nearby unpolluted Lake Mergozzo, pelagic assemblages are still in transition from severe disturbance towards characteristics reported before pollution. Our results suggest that the littoral zone may have acted as a refugium during contamination providing an inoculum for pelagic recolonization.
- Abstract views: 1870
- PDF: 695
PAGEPress has chosen to apply the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) to all manuscripts to be published.
An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:
- the author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
- a complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.