QUEIMALIÑOS claudia Patricia
Effects of Galaxias maculatus on nutrient dynamics and phytoplankton biomass in a North Patagonian oligotrophic lake
REISSIG, M; QUEIMALIÑOS, CP; BALSEIRO, EG
ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY OF FISHES
Lugar: Kluwer; Año: 2003 vol. 68 p. 15 - 24
In this study we analysed the effects of Galaxias maculatus, a landlocked small fish species, on nutrient dynamics, and the consequent effects on phytoplankton biomass of an oligotrophic North Patagonian lake. We performed field and laboratory experiments in order to explore nutrient release by G. maculatus with increasing fish biomass and body size, and the resulting phytoplankton responses. Our results showed that phytoplankton biomass was strongly enhanced in the presence of fish, and that enhancement was greater with increasing fish biomass. These algal increments were associated with higher nutrient concentrations, due to the excretion/egestion processes of fish. In our two laboratory experiments we did not observe phytoplankton increase, probably due to light conditions, but we did observe significant effects of fish on nutrient concentrations. As was expected, mass-specific nutrient release rates were higher in smaller fish than in larger ones. So, the amount of nutrients supplied to phytoplankton would be influenced by the size structure of fish population. As a consequence of different N and P release rates, an increase in the NNH4 : PTDP ratio was observed in the presence of fish. The fact that G. maculatus is a species that moves in schools would determine spatial heterogeneity in nutrient release, with important effects of reducing nutrient limitation and shifting NNH4:PTDP ratios.