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Closed Access item Effects of nutrients and light on periphyton biomass and nitrogen uptake in Mediterranean streams with contrasting land uses

Authors:Von Schiller, D.
Martí, Eugènia
Riera, Joan L.
Sabater, Francesc
Keywords:Biofilm, Light, N uptake, Nutrients, Periphyton, Streams
Issue Date:May-2007
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons
Citation:Freshwater Biology 52(5) : 891-906 (2007)
Abstract:1. Nutrient diffusing substrata (NDS) were used to determine the relative importance of nutrients and light as potential limiting factors of periphyton biomass and nitrogen (N) uptake in Mediterranean streams subjected to different human impacts. The nutrients examined were phosphorus (P) and N, and we also further differentiated between the response of periphyton communities to N species (i.e. NO3-N and NH4-N). To examine the effect of light and nutrients on periphyton biomass, chlorophyll a accrual rates on NDS located at open and closed canopy sites were compared. The effect of nutrient availability on periphyton uptake was measured by 15N changes on the NDS after NO3-15N short-term nutrient additions. 2. Results show that light was the main factor affecting algal biomass in the study streams. Algal biomass was in general higher at open than at closed canopy sites. Nutrient availability, as simulated with the NDS experiments, did not enhance algal biomass accrual in either of the 2 light conditions. 3. In the control treatments (i.e. ambient concentrations), periphyton NO3-N uptake rates increased and C : N molar ratios decreased consistently with increases in N availability across streams. NO3-N uptake rates were altered when ambient N concentrations were increased artificially in the N amended NDS. Periphyton assemblages growing on N enriched substrata seemed to preferentially take up N diffusing from the substratum rather than N from the water column. This response differed among streams, and depended on ambient N availability. 4. Periphyton biomass was not significantly different between substrata exposed to the two forms of available N sources. Nonetheless, we found differences in the effects of both N sources on the uptake of N from the water column. NH4-N seemed to be the preferred source of N for periphyton growing on NDS. 5. Results suggest that the effect of riparian zones on light availability, although seldom considered by water managers, may be more important than nutrients in controlling eutrophication effects derived from human activities. Finally, our results confirm that not only increases in concentration, but also stoichiometric imbalances should be considered when examining N retention in human altered streams.
Description:16 Páginas ; 5 Figuras ; 3 Tablas
Publisher version (URL):http:dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2427.2007.01742.x
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/37411
ISSN:0046-5070
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos

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