Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
National Research Council Canada
To examine how salinity and nutrient supply interact to control phytoplankton community composition, nutrient limitation, and dinitrogen (N2) fixation rates in the Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA), we conducted a series of bioassay experiments with plankton from both Gilbert Bay, where salinities are near 160 g·L–1, and Farmington Bay, where salinities range from 10 to 90 g·L–1. Six-day nutrient addition bioassay experiments showed that the extant phyto plankton communities in both bays were limited by nitrogen (N). However, in 28- to 30-day factorial bioassay experiments in which both salinities and nutrient supply were manipulated, phosphorus stimulated chlorophyll a as much as 500% when salinities were less than 70 g·L–1 and N2-fixing cyanobacteria were present. At salinities greater than 70 g·L–1, or with additions of combined N, N2 fixation ceased. When N2-fixing cyanobacteria were absent, the plankton community was routinely N-limited regardless of salinity. The results of these experiments suggest that nutrient limitation of phyto plankton communities may change depending on salinity levels, because salinity controls whether N2-fixing cyanobacteria will be present in the phytoplankton community. Therefore, both salinity and nutrient supply must be considered when making water quality decisions for hypersaline systems such as the Great Salt Lake.
Marcarelli, A.M., W.A. Wurtsbaugh and O. Griset. 2006. Salinity controls phytoplankton response to nutrient enrichment in the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 63:2236-2248.