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Artificial mixing prevents nuisance blooms of the cyanobacterium Microcystis in Lake Nieuwe Meer, the Netherlands

Authors


PETRA M. VISSER Amsterdam Research Institute for Substances in Ecosystems, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 127, 1018 WS Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Abstract

1. Artificial mixing in the hypertrophic Lake Nieuwe Meer was successful in preventing blooms of the cyanobacterium Microcystis. During the 2 years of artificial, deep mixing the number of colonies of Microcystis per litre and also per m2 was lower than in the two preceding control years. Hardly any nuisance scums of Microcystis occurred in the lake.

2. The phytoplankton shifted from a cyanobacteria-dominated community in summer to a mixed community of flagellates, green algae and diatoms. Reduced sedimentation losses in the mixed lake, probably in combination with a lower pH, favoured non-buoyant algae, while the entrainment of cyanobacteria in the turbulent flow nullified their advantage of buoyancy.

3. The chlorophyll concentrations were much lower in the mixed lake, but the euphotic depth did not show clear differences between the years. The chlorophyll content integrated through depth (m–2) increased in the artificially mixed lake.

4. The deep lake normally stratified in summer, but artificial mixing of the lake in 1993 resulted in a homogeneous temperature and oxygen distribution with depth. In spring 1994, the mixing was applied intermittently with a reduction of 75% of the energy costs, while the mixing was still sufficient to prevent stratification.

5. Determination of the buoyancy state of the colonies on a sunny and calm day showed that the buoyancy loss was low close to the bubble plumes, and high at some distance from these plumes. This suggests that Microcystis could escape the mixing at some distance from the plumes, and could synthesize more carbohydrates during its stay in the upper illuminated layer of the lake than the deep mixed colonies close to the bubble plumes. Determination of the buoyancy state appeared to be a good and simple method to investigate the extent of entrainment of colonies in the turbulent flow.

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