Article

The effect of lake morphology on aquatic vegetation development and changes under the influence of eutrophication

Ecological Indicators (Impact Factor: 3.44). 03/2014; 38:282-293. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.11.015

ABSTRACT

Data on aquatic and emergent vegetation, morphology and water quality from 274 Polish lowland lakes surveyed in the years 1996–2009 were used to validate the preliminary typology of Polish lakes based on macrophytes and to indicate the environmental parameters which most significantly determine the vegetation patterns in lakes under various morphological conditions. In highly alkaline lowland lakes representing non-disturbed conditions the key determinants influencing the vegetation patterns were mean depth and the shape of the littoral. Three morphological lake types were distinguished: shallow (<3.5 m), deep, and additionally, within the latter, deep ribbon-shaped, with a clearly elongated base and steep bed slopes. The lake types varied in their vegetation patterns developed under non-disturbed conditions. In the shallow lakes, the share of the phytolittoral in the total lake area (%phytol) was the highest (40–100%, 72.3% on average) and the maximum colonisation depth (Cmax) the lowest (3.2 m as the maximum) compared to the lakes from both deep types. In the ribbon-shaped deep lakes, %phytol and the plant coverage (%cover) were the lowest, the proportion of submerged vegetation was extraordinarily high (over 90%) and the emergent vegetation was extremely sparsely developed (<6%) compared to the lakes of the two other types.

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Available from: Agnieszka Karolina Kolada, Dec 23, 2013
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    • "In the study, data on total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), chlorophyll a concentration (Chla), and the Secchi disk reading (SD) were used. All of the lakes were investigated for macrophytes using the unified field survey procedure based on the belt transect method (Ciecierska and Kolada, 2014; Kolada et al., 2014a). Within the phytolittoral of each lake, the maximum colonisation depth, the mean vegetation coverage, and the relative cover of all of the aquatic and emergent plant communities (stands) were determined. "
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    ABSTRACT: Macrophyte-based methods for lake ecological status assessment universally include hydrophytes. Emergent plants (helophytes) are presumed to respond more directly to soil characteristics, wind exposure or shoreline management, hence are usually not considered as reliable indicators of water nutrient enrichment. The aims of the study were to explore the potential role of helophytes as eutrophication indicators and to test whether including or excluding emergent vegetation affects the indicator value of the Ecological State Macrophyte Index (ESMI) used in lake monitoring in Poland. Data on macrophyte syntaxonomic composition and abundance (76 hydrophyte and 48 helophyte communities) and water quality from 490 Polish lowland lakes were analysed. Based on the frequency distribution and non-metric multi-dimensional scaling ordination, clear trends in helophyte community occurrence and abundance along the eutrophication gradient were demonstrated. To test the effect of emergent vegetation on ecological status assessment results, the ESMI index was modified accordingly and calculated in two variants, with helophytes being included (CompESMITOT) and excluded (CompESMIHYDR). The relationships between metrics and eutrophication indicators were analysed using linear regression. Compared to CompESMITOT, CompESMIHYDR correlated significantly weaker with most of the water quality indicators, and only for TSITP the difference in metric responses was statistically non-significant. The negative effect of excluding helophytes on metric diagnostic capacity was stronger in more degraded lakes than in lakes in good ecological conditions. The presented results demonstrated that emergent vegetation provides relatively reliable information on ecosystem ecological conditions and could be used to assess the ecological status of lakes under eutrophication pressure.
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    • "For instance, Dudley et al. (2013) found that emergent species have significantly weaker relationships with total phosphorus (TP) than submerged species, but are more affected by spring flood-related water-level fluctuations. Differently Alahuhta et al. (2013) and Kolada (2014) found that the percentage of emergent macrophyte in total littoral area is one of the most universal and best performing water quality indicators. Qualitative indicators are more commonly adopted than quantitative ones for detecting eutrophication pressure. "
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    • "Donohue et al. 2009), macrophytes (e.g. Kolada 2014), littoral diatoms (e.g. Gottschalk and Kahlert 2012) and fish (e.g. "
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