Lakes suffering from harmful algal blooms may not respond to reduced, or even discontinued, artificial nitrogen loading. Many blue-green algae responsible for algal blooms can fix atmospheric nitrogen dissolved in the water, and therefore water stewards should focus their efforts on removing phosphorus from lakes to combat algal blooms.
This is according to a recently published article in Springer's Ecosystems journal, Biological Nitrogen Fixation Prevents the Response of a Eutrophic Lake to Reduced Loading of Nitrogen: Evidence from a 46-Year Whole-Lake Experiment. The paper presents the results of a 46-year whole-ecosystem experiment at IISD Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, Canada.
Since 1969, researchers have been artificially manipulating a lake by adding varying amounts of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus to investigate the nutrients responsible for algal blooms. Throughout the experiment, researchers have been continually adding phosphorus.
However, forty years ago, researchers began reducing the amount of nitrogen they were adding to the lake, and from 1990-2013, they cut artificial nitrogen loading to zero. Despite these dramatic cuts in nitrogen loading algal blooms continued to cover the lake.
"We have been researching the role of artificial nitrogen in algal blooms for almost 50 years now, and these latest results clearly demonstrate that ceasing nitrogen loading into lakes has little effect on the size or duration of algal blooms," said Dr. Scott Higgins, Research Scientist at IISD Experimental Lakes Area and lead author on the paper.
"A number of algal species can make up for nitrogen deficits by fixing atmospheric nitrogen that is dissolved in the water. What is clear here is that phosphorus is the key driver of algal blooms in lake environments," added Higgins.
These results have clear implications for policy geared towards reducing algal blooms--especially for jurisdictions dealing with limited budgets.
"When governments are tackling algal blooms while working with limited resources, these results demonstrate that their efforts should be firmly focused on reducing phosphorus loading in lakes," said Dr. Michael Paterson, Senior Research Scientist at IISD Experimental Lakes Area, and secondary author on the paper.
Algal blooms are unsightly growths on water bodies that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals, affect drinking water supplies, cause low oxygen 'dead zones' that result in fish kills, and a number of other negative consequences. Many freshwater lakes around the globe, including Lake Erie, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Taihu, have suffered from algal blooms for decades.
Research at IISD Experimental Lakes Area, the world's freshwater laboratory, identified phosphorus as the leading cause of algal blooms in lakes back in the 1970s, in a groundbreaking experiment on a whole lake ecosystem.
For more information, and to arrange an interview with the scientists, contact:
Media and Communications Officer,
IISD Experimental Lakes Area,
email@example.com or 1-204-958-7700 ext. 740
Sumeep Bath | EurekAlert!
New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data
22.03.2018 | University of Southampton
New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world
22.03.2018 | University of Cincinnati
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences