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We studied the role of natural (common reed) and artificial substrata (bamboo) in structuring the abundance and taxonomic composition of periphyton assemblages. Investigations were conducted in a shallow, hypertrophic lake situated in the area of Polesie Lubelskie (Eastern Poland). Periphyton communities (algae, ciliates, small metazoa and chironomids) on both types of substratum were sampled monthly, from May to November of 2007. Water samples for chemical analysis were collected together with biological samples. We selected the group of ten environmental variables which are the most important in determining the habitat conditions in highly eutrophic lakes: temperature, Secchi disc visibility, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, periphytic chlorophyll-a, N-NO3, N-NH4, TP, P-PO4 and total organic carbon (TOC). The abundances of periphytic algae, ciliates, metazoa and chironomids were significantly affected by season and substrate. On natural substrata, in all studied months, periphyton communities showed higher abundances. The results of PCA analysis confirmed the distinction between periphyton communities on natural and artificial substrata. The Monte Carlo permutation test showed that the periphyton communities on common reed were the most significantly affected by temperature, N-NO3, Secchi disc visibility and TOC. The communities on artificial substrata were significantly influenced by temperature, P-PO4 and TOC. On natural substrata biomass of periphytic algae was significantly negatively correlated with abundances of all groups of potential grazers (ciliates, metazoa, chironomids). On artificial substrata the relations between components of periphytic food web were stronger; correlation coefficients between algae, protists and chironomids were significant at P<0.01. The results of analysis indicate that periphytic algae can play an important role as food source for higher trophic levels. These interactions are less significant on natural (reed) substrata, where algae during their growth may use nutrients releasing by plants. On inert substrata intensive feeding activity of grazers (ciliates, metazoan, chironomids) can markedly reduce algal biomass and affect their taxonomic composition.
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