Phytoplankton and Physical Disturbance : Seasonal dynamics in temperate Lake Erken, Sweden

Sammanfattning: Phytoplankton mirrors changes in the environment and plays an important role in biogeochemical processes. Phytoplankton dynamics is the outcome of both autogenic succession and external disturbances. This thesis focused on the seasonal variation of water column stability and its effects on phytoplankton, particularly considering the influence of mixing events on phytoplankton development. Lake Erken is a dimictic lake with weak and often interrupted summer stratification, which represents an intermediate case between a polymictic lake and a lake with strong summer stratification.There are two diatom phases annually. The spring bloom is caused by pioneer centric diatoms, and the autumn diatom phase is dominated by meroplanktonic diatoms induced by turnover. A summer Cyanobacteria bloom – mainly Gloeotrichia echinulata, depended on the length and stability of stratification.Winter and spring air temperature is found to play an important role in the annual succession of phytoplankton by initiating changes in ice/snow-cover and lake thermal stability and setting the basic status. Instead of starting from zero, the vernal phytoplankton piles up on the overwintering community, this trans-annual ecological memory influences both the composition and diversity and taxonomic distinctness of spring phytoplankton.Water column stability during summer in Lake Erken is mainly influenced by wind-induced turbulence and internal seiches. As thermal stratification develops from early until late summer, variations in stability and gradual deepening of the thermocline depth influence phytoplankton dynamics directly by changing its distribution, and also indirectly by altering the nutrient and light availability. A new disturbance index (DI) was defined to quantify environmental stability/disturbance and tested well to indicate phytoplankton equilibrium status in two summer stratification periods. The concept of species and functional groups was generally used in this study. However, a next generation sequencing based approach was also tested and proved to provide an excellent candidate for revealing distribution patterns of phytoplankton in inland waters.