Trophic state and seasonal dynamics of phytoplankton communities in two sand-pit lakes at different successional stages


The seasonal and inter-annual dynamics of phytoplankton in two Italian sand-pit lakes have been analysed over three years (2004-2006). The studied lakes, Ca' Morta (CM) and Ca' Stanga (CS), have a common origin and are contiguous, but are of different ages and have been managed in different ways. CM was created in 2002 and was still being dredged during the study period, while sand quarrying in CS began in 1998 and ended at the beginning of the study period. These conditions were thought to be of particular interest in assessing the influence of dredging activities on algal assemblages. Physical and chemical water parameters were also analysed to characterise the two lakes and investigate the effects of hydro-chemical features on phytoplankton. CS was stratified from April to October each year during the study period, while CM showed weaker thermal stratification. Conductivity, dissolved nitrate and dissolved reactive silica concentrations were greater in CM than in CS. The mixing depth/euphotic depth ratio was also higher in CM, probably because of water column mixing induced by hydraulic dredging. Overall, 185 phytoplankton taxa were found, of which ca 50% were present in both lakes. No significant differences in species richness were observed between lakes, but the decreasing trend of Simpson index values measured in CS showed a reduction in biodiversity after the excavation phase. Phytoplankton biomass was higher in CS than in CM, the latter being oligo-mesotrophic and the former mesotrophic. Diatoms and dinoflagellates were the dominant taxa in both lakes. The main differences in phytoplankton assemblages were related to the persistence of chryptophytes and chlorophytes in CM. Multivariate analyses support the hypothesis that different thermal patterns induced by dredging activities, along with certain physico-chemical parameters of the water, were the major factors shaping phytoplankton communities.



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Original Articles
hydraulic dredging, species richness, phytoplankton biomass, thermal stratification
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TAVERNINI S, NIZZOLI D, ROSSETTI G, VIAROLI P. Trophic state and seasonal dynamics of phytoplankton communities in two sand-pit lakes at different successional stages. J Limnol [Internet]. 2009Aug.1 [cited 2021Jan.19];68(2):217-28. Available from:

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