• diversity;
  • functional groups;
  • mixing;
  • phytoplankton;
  • Schmidt stability


1. The succession of a phytoplankton community was investigated through an intensive period of sampling and related to physical, chemical and biological conditions sampled at an equal, or higher, temporal resolution.

2. Phytoplankton samples were taken on a weekly basis from June to September 2004 and analysed for diversity, species composition, and contribution of different functional groups to total biomass. Physical and chemical data were collected on the sampling days, and physical environmental factors were also logged continuously throughout the period by automatic measuring stations. This continuous logging allowed community structure to be compared with physical data averaged over periods from a day to a week before each sampling date.

3. The Schmidt stability of the lake, a measure of the strength of stratification calculated from thermal data, showed a negative correlation with phytoplankton species diversity. This is consistent with the hypothesis that mixing was preventing exclusion by species that would otherwise dominate in stratified conditions.

4. At a functional level, stress tolerant (S-type) species dominated during the stratified summer conditions, with small, colonising species (C types) and ruderal, disturbance tolerant species (R types) contributing little to the overall biomass. Of the stress tolerant species, the faster growing (SC) phytoplankters were significantly favoured by more stable, stratified conditions and higher solar radiation. Increased abundance of this group resulted in decreased species diversity. Correlations were generally strongest when using the 6- to 7-day averaged physical data, stressing the importance of continuous measurements of these drivers in phytoplankton studies.