Warming and eutrophication effects on the phytoplankton communities of two tropical water systems of different trophic states: An experimental approach

Andreia Maria da Anunciação Gomes, Marcelo Manzi Marinho, Marcella Coelho Berjante Mesquita, Ana Carolina Coelho Prestes, Miquel Lürling, Sandra M.F.O. Azevedo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Both global warming and eutrophication are predicted to promote cyanobacterial blooms. At the same time, how tropical phytoplankton communities exhibiting different trophic state systems will respond to temperature variations is less clear. To investigate the effects of temperature changes and nutrient additions on phytoplankton communities, and gain insights regarding possible resistance to these effects, the present study focused on testing the hypothesis that temperature variations and nutrient additions will have a stronger effect on cyanobacteria dominance in eutrophic water system than in oligo-mesotrophic water systems. Experiments were conducted with phytoplankton communities from two aquatic ecosystems exhibiting different trophic states. To this end, water samples from a eutrophic and oligo-mesotrophic system were collected and incubated at 25 and 30ºC. Samples receiving additional surplus nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) inputs were included to serve as eutrophication treatments. The study results indicated that temperature variations alone did not promote cyanobacteria in water from either the oligo-mesotrophic or eutrophic water system. However, nutrient enrichment of the water from the eutrophic system significantly boosted the cyanobacteria, with the biomass increasing by factor of 10 for both the 25°C and 30°C treatments. In contrast, eutrophication of the water from the oligo-mesotrophic system did not change the relative contribution of phytoplankton groups, with the response ratios being much lower than those for the water from the eutrophic system. Although based on a simple experimental design, the results of the present study suggest that cyanobacteria dominance is favoured by further nutrient additions for eutrophic water systems, independently of any direct temperature effects, and that more pristine environments possess some resistance against eutrophication effects. Since global warming is assumed to indirectly intensify eutrophication symptoms, the results of the present study underscore the importance of nutrient control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalLakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • cyanobacterial blooms
  • eutrophic systems
  • global warming
  • nutrients addition
  • oligo-mesotrophic systems

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