Phytoplankton response to climate changes and anthropogenic activities recorded by sedimentary pigments in a shallow eutrophied lake

Hanxiao Zhang, Shouliang Huo, Kevin M. Yeager, Zhuoshi He, Beidou Xi, Xiaochuang Li, Chunzi Ma, Fengchang Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Studies that address the potential effects of climate and anthropogenic activities on lacustrine phytoplankton succession are scarce in the shallow lakes. In the present work, the succession of phytoplankton community inferred from sedimentary pigments has been investigated; the impacts of climate and anthropogenic activities on the succession have been evaluated by the generalized additive models (GAMs) in a shallow eutrophied lake, Lake Chaohu, located eastern China. The results show that phytoplankton succession can be divided into two periods: pre-1960s and post 1960s. The mean values of ββ‑Car and Chl a increased after the 1960s at both sites sampled, from 0.013 to 0.359, and 0.013 to 1.382 μg g −1 , respectively (site C4), and from 0.015 to 0.530, and 0.010 to 0.921 μg g −1 , respectively (site C14), reflecting significant increases of primary productivity since the 1960s. The percentage of diatoms and dinoflagellates preserved in sediments decreased from ~90% to ~15% since the 1960s, while cyanobacteria and green algae increased from ~5% to ~35%, respectively, reflecting the shift of the lake phytoplankton community. This succession was related to construction of the Chaohu Dam in 1963, increasing discharges of anthropogenic N and P into the Lake, and a generally warming environment as reflected by increasing average air temperatures. The results of GAMs showed aquatic total phosphorus (TP) concentration is the dominant contributor to phytoplankton community change, explaining 42.74%, 40.27%, 40.77% and 72.28% of the variance of total algae, cyanobacteria, green algae, and diatoms and dinoflagellates, respectively. The positive impacts of increasing TP concentrations on abundances of total algae, cyanobacteria, and green algae were observed during periods of relatively high TP concentrations since the mid-1970s. The positive responses of total algae, cyanobacteria, green algae and diatoms and dinoflagellates to increasing average air temperatures were observed since the mid-1990s, showing that a generally warmer environment facilitated algae proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1398-1409
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jan 10 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The National Key Research and Development Program of China ( 2017YFA0605003 ), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 91751114 , 41521003 ) supported this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Algae succession
  • Anthropogenic activities
  • Climate change
  • Generalized additive models
  • Phytoplankton pigments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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