Phosphorus and land-use changes are significant drivers of cladoceran community composition and diversity: An analysis over spatial and temporal scales

Marc Richard Albert, Guangjie Chen, Graham K. MacDonald, Jesse C. Vermaire, Elena M. Bennett, Irene Gregory-Eaves

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted paleolimnological studies over spatial and temporal gradients to define the responses of subfossil cladoceran community composition and diversity to changes in land use and phosphorus concentrations in shallow lakes. We predicted that watershed disturbance by humans, through its impact on water quality, would explain significant variation in cladoceran diversity and composition. Across lakes, water-column total phosphorus concentration was a significant (p < 0.05) predictor of the subfossil cladoceran community composition. Chydorid diversity was also found to be related significantly to phosphorus concentration (r = -0.55, p < 0.05) and the proportion of disturbed land in the watershed (r = -0.47, p < 0.05). However, net load of phosphorus to the watershed rather than proportion of watershed disturbance was a significant predictor of chydorid diversity (r = -0.86, p < 0.001) in our temporal analysis of an eutrophying lake. Given that phosphorus loading to surface waters is often related to phosphorus concentrations in soils, we suggest that the net phosphorus load to the watershed is a more sensitive metric of land-use change and necessary for detecting ecological responses in time series data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1262-1273
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume67
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

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