Ecological stoichiometry in benthic food webs: Effect of light and nutrients on periphyton food quantity and quality in lakes

Qin, Peibing, Christine M. Mayer, Kimberly L. Schulz, Xinli Ji, Mark E. Ritchie

Limnol. Oceanogr., 52(4), 2007, 1728-1734 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.4.1728

ABSTRACT: To quantify the effect of light and nutrients on periphyton food quantity and quality, a series of experiments, consisting of full light and shade treatments, was conducted in 2003 in 11 lakes differing in nutrient status and turbidity. Periphyton chlorophyll a, C : P, and benthic macroinvertebrate biomass were measured on rocks or artificial substrates (glass slides) or both. Periphyton biomass increased and periphyton C: P decreased as total phosphorus increased. Periphyton biomass and C: P were higher in light than in shade. Benthic macroinvertebrate biomass was higher with high periphyton biomass and low periphyton C : P. Both turbidity and nutrient concentrations in natural water bodies are altered by human-driven and natural processes; therefore we expect periphyton biomass and C: P to increase in lakes as clarity increases and nutrient content decreases, resulting in high-quantity but low-quality benthic food.

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