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Nutrient limitation of periphyton growth in arctic lakes in south-west Greenland

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posted on 30.10.2014, 11:23 by Erika Whiteford, Suzanne McGowan, Nicholas John Anderson
Many arctic lakes are oligotrophic systems where phototrophic growth is controlled by nutrient supply. Recent anthropogenic nutrient loading is associated with biological and/or physico-chemical change in several lakes across the arctic. Shifts in nutrient limitation (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), or N ? P) and associated effects on the growth and composition of algal communities are commonly reported. The Kangerlussuaq region of south-west Greenland forms a major lake district which is considered to receive little direct anthropogenic disturbance. However, long-range transport of pollutant N is now reaching Greenland, and it was hypothesised that a precipitation gradient from the inland ice sheet margin to the coast might also deliver increased N deposition. In situ nutrient bioassays were deployed in three lakes across the region: ice sheet margin, inland (close to Kangerlussuaq) and the coast (near Sisimiut), to determine nutrient limitation of lakes and investigate any effects of nutrients on periphyton growth and community composition. Nutrient limitation differed amongst lakes: N limitation (ice sheet margin), N and P limitation (inland) and N ? P co-limitation (coast). Factors including variation in N supply, ice phenology, seasonal algal succession, community structure and physical limnology are explored as mechanisms to explain differences amongst lakes. Nutrient limitation of arctic lakes and associated ecological impacts are highly variable, even across small geographic areas. In this highly sensitive region, future environmental change scenarios carry a strong risk of significantly altering nutrient limitation; in turn, potentially severely impacting lake structure and function.

Funding

This work was funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council NE/G019622/1

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

POLAR BIOLOGY

Volume

37

Issue

9

Pages

1331 - 1342 (12)

Citation

HOGAN, E.J., MCGOWAN, S. and ANDERSON, N.J., 2014. Nutrient limitation of periphyton growth in arctic lakes in south-west Greenland. Polar Biology, 37 (9), pp. 1331 - 1342.

Publisher

© The Author(s) 2014. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Publication date

2014

Notes

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

ISSN

0722-4060

Language

en

Licence

Exports

Loughborough Publications

Licence

Exports