The disturbance-driven changes of periphytic algal communities in a Danubian floodplain lake
Disturbance event-driven changes in periphytic algal communities were studied in a Danubian floodplain using artificial substrata (glass slides). The hydrological regime of the river-floodplain system strongly influenced the physical and chemical environment of the investigated lake. Directional changes in the algal communities, demonstrated by the results of non-metric multidimensional scaling, indicated three distinct phases in periphyton development. Strong seasonal influences in the initial accrual phase favored diatom dominance in spring and rapid development of a community composed of filamentous and stalk-forming chlorophytes towards “climax” in summer. Macrophyte and metaphyton stands spreading represented a physical constraint for periphytic algal development. Irrespective of periphyton age and structure, the onset of disturbances resulted in an immediate decrease in periphytic biomass. Disturbances deeply transformed algal communities, whereas the morpho-functional properties of algal species were found to be decisive in community adaptations to altered environmental conditions. Tightly attached and stalk forming diatoms were shown to have an ability to resist and quickly recover from physical disturbance. Our results highlight the necessity for further development of the morpho-functional classification of periphytic algae, which will contribute to more precise evaluations of disturbance-driven events in freshwater ecosystems.
Auteurs du document :
T. Žuna Pfeiffer, M. Mihaljević, D. Špoljarić, F. Stević, A. Plenković-Moraj