Seasonal and annual variation in biomass and structure of algal assemblages of hyposaline Devils Lake were examined in relation to turbidity, ambient concentrations of major ions, trace elements and nutrients, and the standing crop of herbivores. Lake level declined during the early years of study, but rose markedly in subsequent years as historically large volumes of water flowed into this hydrologically-closed basin. Winter algal assemblages were dominated (in biomass) most years by small, non-motile chlorophytes (Choricystis minor, Kirchneriella lunaris or Dunaliella sp.), or Euglena sp. in the most saline sub-basin. Spring assemblages were dominated by diatoms (Stephanodiscus cf. minutulus, Surirella peisonis, Cyclotella meneghiniana and Entomoneis paludosa were especially prominent) or chlorophytes (C. minor) until the lake level rose. C. minor abundances then declined in spring assemblages and diatoms (Stephanodiscus cf. agassizensis and S. niagarae; E. paludosa in the more saline sub-basins) dominated. The potential for nitrogen-deficient conditions for phytoplankton growth was evidenced most summers and early autumns by consistently high concentrations of reactive-P relative to inorganic-N and blooms of the N-fixing cyanophyte Aphanizomenon flos-aquae; Microcystis aeruginosa typically was a co-dominant (> 30% of biomass) in these assemblages. Pulses of diatoms (S. cf. agassizensis and C. meneghiniana) occurred in summers following unusually prolonged periods of calm weather or large water inflows. Physical (irradiance, turbulence) and chemical (major nutrients) variables were the primary factors associated with phytoplankton growth. Transparency and major nutrient concentrations accounted for more of the annual variation in phytoplankton structure than did salinity. Seasonal abundance patterns of the dominant zooplankton (the copepod Diaptomus sicilis; the cladocerans Ceriodaphnia quadrangula, Chydorus sphaericus, Daphnia pulex and Diaphanosoma birgei; and the rotifers Brachionus spp., Filinia longiseta, Keratella cochlearis and K. quadrata) also indicated variation in algal populations related to grazing. ?? 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Additional publication details
Temporal variation in plankton assemblages and physicochemistry of Devils Lake, North Dakota