The phosphorus (P) deficiency status of phytoplankton communities was measured using the physiological indicator, alkaline phosphatase activity (APA) and nutrient-addition growth bioassays in field sampled from four northeastern Minnesota lakes and the far western arm of Lake Superior. Phosphorus additions generally reduced APA, while other treatments increased activity. Samples receiving nitrogen (N) and P increased APA after a long lag period. P-addition bioassays of Lake Superior were consistent with phytoplankton P limitation and variations in APA indicated potential seasonal and spatial changes in P deficiency status. The results suggest that APA reliably reflected the phytoplankton P status, but may not provide sufficient information when N or NP limitation is present.
- Alkaline phosphatase activity
- Growth bioassays
- Lake Superior
- Phosphorus deficiency