Total nitrogen and community turnover determine phosphorus use efficiency of phytoplankton along nutrient gradients in plateau lakes

Qichao Zhou , Yun Zhang , Hucai Zhang , Qi Liu , Lizeng Duan


Received December 20, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 05, 2022, Available online February 17, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 699-711

Numerous studies support that biodiversity predict most to ecosystem functioning, but whether other factors display a more significant direct impact on ecosystem functioning than biodiversity remains to be studied. We investigated 398 samples of the phytoplankton phosphorus resource use efficiency (RUEP = chlorophyll-a concentration/dissolved phosphate) across two seasons in nine plateau lakes in Yunnan Province, China. We identified the main contributors to phytoplankton RUEP and analyzed their potential influences on RUEP at different lake trophic states. The results showed that total nitrogen (TN) contributed the most to RUEP among the nine lakes, whereas community turnover (measured as community dissimilarity) explained the most to RUEP variation across the two seasons. Moreover, TN also influenced RUEP by affecting biodiversity. Species richness (SR), functional attribute diversity (FAD2), and dendrogram-based functional diversity (FDc) were positively correlated with RUEP in both seasons, while evenness was negatively correlated with RUEP at the end of the rainy season. We also found that the effects of biodiversity and turnover on RUEP depended on the lake trophic states. SR and FAD2 were positively correlated with RUEP in all three trophic states. Evenness showed a negative correlation with RUEP at the eutrophic and oligotrophic levels, but a positive correlation at the mesotrophic level. Turnover had a negative influence on RUEP at the eutrophic level, but a positive influence at the mesotrophic and oligotrophic levels. Overall, our results suggested that multiple factors and nutrient states need to be considered when the ecosystem functioning predictors and the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships are investigated.

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