Using a morpho-functional approach to assess phytoplankton dynamics in two adjacent high-mountain lakes: a 10-year survey

Submitted: 31 October 2013
Accepted: 25 March 2014
Published: 6 May 2014
Abstract Views: 3426
PDF: 1025
Supplementary: 383
HTML: 977
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


Colbricon Superiore and Inferiore are two small adjacent high-mountain lakes located in the Paneveggio Natural Park (Italy). The lakes differ by size and depth while sharing the same bedrock setting and catchment basin. Changes in the phytoplankton communities were studied over a 10-years period to individuate which environmental variables would determine the main differences in biotic assemblages across time and between the two lakes.The study was conducted with fortnightly samplings, assessing the density and biomass of algal taxa. Relationships of each of the biological variables with water temperature, pH, conductivity, transparency, water level, previous week rainfall, and relative water column stability were analyzed by correlation and regression analyses, cluster analysis, and by canonical correspondence analysis. The most significant variables resulted air temperature, hydrologic water level and pH. The smaller Colbricon Inferiore had about double the amount of phytoplankton density and biomass than did the larger Colbricon Superiore. The same lake had higher diversity and lower evenness in structure of the phytoplankton community. Notwithstanding their proximity each lake appears to follow independent species composition dynamics, however parallel patterns were interestingly revealed when data were analyzed by pooling taxa into morpho-functional groups. Morpho-functional groups (MFGs) 1b, 3a, 6b, 7a, 9b were differentially most abundant in warm periods, while 2c, 3b, 11c, 5e, 10a prevailed in cold years. MFGs 1b, 2d, 3a and 3b were more characteristic of Lake Colbricon Superiore, while Colbricon Inferiore preferentially featured MFGs 5a, 5e, 9a, 9b, 10a, 11a and 8a. The role of the meteo-climatic parameters was pointed out in driving the different patterns observed in the two lakes.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Renata Trevisan, University of Padua
Department of Biology
Marco Picarella, University of Padua
Department of Biology
Frank B. Dazzo, Michigan State University
Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Stefano Bona, University of Padua
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment, DAFNAE
Giuseppe Morabito, CNR-Institute for Ecosystem Study



Andrea Squartini, University of Padua
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment, DAFNAE

How to Cite

Trevisan, Renata, Marco Picarella, Frank B. Dazzo, Stefano Bona, Giuseppe Morabito, and Andrea Squartini. 2014. “Using a Morpho-Functional Approach to Assess Phytoplankton Dynamics in Two Adjacent High-Mountain Lakes: A 10-Year Survey”. Journal of Limnology 73 (3).