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Decades needed for ecosystem components to respond to a sharp and drastic phosphorus load reduction
Citation key Chorus et al.
Author Ingrid Chorus, Antje Köhler, Camilla Beulker, Jutta Fastner, Klaus van de Weyer, Tilo Hegewald & Michael Hupfer
Pages 1-1
Year 2020
DOI 10.1007/s10750-020-04450-4
Journal Hydrobiologia
Abstract Lake Tegel is an extreme case of restoration: inflow treatment reduced its main external phosphorus (TP) load 40-fold, sharply focused in time, and low-P water flushed the lake volume ≈ 4 times per year. We analysed 35 years of data for the time TP concentrations took to decline from ≈ 700 to 20–30 µg/l, biota to respond and cyanobacteria to become negligible. The internal load proved of minor relevance. After 10 years, TP reached 35–40 µg/l, phytoplankton biomass abruptly declined by 50% and cyanobacteria no longer dominated; yet 10 years later at TP < 20–30 µg/l they were below quantifiable levels. 20–25 years after load reduction, the lake was stably mesotrophic, macrophytes had returned down to 6–8 m, and vivianite now forms, binding P insolubly in the sediment. Bottom-up control of phytoplankton through TP proved decisive. Five intermittent years with a higher external P load caused some ‘re-eutrophication’, delaying recovery by 5 years. While some restoration responses required undercutting thresholds, particularly that of phytoplankton biomass to TP, resilience and hysteresis proved irrelevant. Future research needs to focus on the littoral zone, and for predicting time spans for recovery more generally, meta-analyses should address P load reduction in combination with flushing rates.
Bibtex Type of Publication Journal
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