Original paper

Nitrogen: phosphorus supply ratios and phytoplankton community structure in lakes

Smith, Val. H.; Bennett, Susan J.

Archiv für Hydrobiologie Volume 146 Number 1 (1999), p. 37 - 53

78 references

published: Sep 16, 1999

DOI: 10.1127/archiv-hydrobiol/146/1999/37

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP141014601010, Price: 29.00 €

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Our understanding of the physical, chemical, and biotic factors regulating the species composition of natural biotic communities unfortunately is still very limited. Numerous hypotheses and descriptive frameworks have been proposed in the literature in an attempt to account for the patterns in phytoplankton community structure that we observe in lakes. Resource-ratio theory is prominent among these competing frameworks. However, because it is equilibrium-based, resource-ratio theory has drawn considerable criticism as a basis for describing and predicting the trends in phytoplankton species composition that occur in natural aquatic ecosystems. Bulgakov & Levich (1999) have provided evidence that is broadly consistent with this theory. We present here a much broader review of some of the evidence supporting the resource-ratio hypothesis of phytoplankton community structure. We also present new experimental data that are consistent with strong effects of nitrogen: phosphorus (N : P) ratios on the structure and function of algal communities.


biotic factorsphytoplankton communityecosystemsalgal