Original paper

Phytoplankton biomass in relation to nutrients and zooplankton in thirty subtropical lakes adjacent to the Yangtze River, China

Wang, Songbo; Xie, Ping; Wu, Shikai; Liang, Xiaomin


A total of 30 shallow lakes, located along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, were studied to assess the relative importance of nutrients and zooplankton biomass in determining the phytoplankton biomass in subtropical China. Zooplankton biomass and nutrients both varied greatly in these lakes. Factor analysis and multiple linear regression showed that phytoplankton biomass was positively correlated with TN, NH4+, NO3− and TP, while it did not show any negative relationship to zooplankton biomass. Meanwhile, the phytoplankton biomass showed contrary relationships to the mass ratio of TN/TP in spring and summer, suggesting that in nutrient-richer lakes the dominant phytoplankton species have different preferences for TN/TP ratio. The insignificant top-down control of phytoplankton biomass may be attributed to the dominance of small-sized crustaceans and low crustacean biomass resulting from cyanobacterial dominance and planktivorous fish predation as well as other factors. Thus, it is likely that nutrients were more important than zooplankton biomass in explaining the total variance of phytoplankton biomass in these subtropical lakes.


lake water qualityphosphorusnitrogenzooplankton grazingcorrelation