Aquatic ecosystem responds differently to press and pulse nutrient disturbances as revealed by a microcosm experiment

Ecol Evol. 2022 Oct 22;12(10):e9438. doi: 10.1002/ece3.9438. eCollection 2022 Oct.

ABSTRACT

Due to climate change and increasing anthropogenic activities, lakes are disturbed frequently, usually by press (e.g., diffused pollution, rising temperatures) or pulse (e.g., storms, rainfall, pollution events) disturbances. Both press and pulse disturbances can affect abiotic and biotic environments, changing the structure of ecosystems and affecting ecosystem services. To confront with the effects of climate change and increasing anthropogenic activities, understanding the different effects of press and pulse disturbances on lake ecosystems is essential. This study assessed the effect of press and pulse disturbances of phosphorus on a microcosmic aquatic ecosystem by measuring the total phosphorus (TP), algae density, and physiological indicators of submerged macrophytes. We found that the microcosmic aquatic ecosystem responded differently to press and pulse disturbances. Our results suggested that it had a lower resistance to pulse phosphorus disturbances than to press phosphorus disturbances. There were significantly higher nutrient concentrations and algal densities in the pulse treatment than in the press treatment. Positive feedback was found between the biomass of submerged macrophytes and the water quality. There was a higher submerged macrophytes biomass at low TP concentration and algal density. In the context of climate change, press and pulse disturbances could have severe impacts on lake ecosystems. Our findings will provide some insight for further research and lake management.

PMID:36284519 | PMC:PMC9587460 | DOI:10.1002/ece3.9438

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