Phosphorus Dynamics and Availability in the Nearshore of Eastern Lake Erie: Insights From Oxygen Isotope Ratios of Phosphate

Phosphorus Dynamics and Availability in the Nearshore of Eastern Lake Erie: Insights From Oxygen Isotope Ratios of PhosphateBlooms of filamentous benthic algae that plagued Lake Erie in the 1950s through 1970s were largely reduced through reductions of phosphorus (P) loading from point sources. Since the mid-1990s, these blooms have returned despite a period of relatively stable external P inputs. While increased loadings of dissolved P have been causally linked to cyanobacterial blooms in some parts of the lake, the impacts of ecosystem changes such as the effect of invasive species on nutrient cycling and availability have not been fully elucidated, leading to uncertainty as to the effectiveness of additional non-point P management actions. Here we use the oxygen isotope ratios (δ18OP) of phosphate in concert with measures of water quality along the northern shore of the east basin of Lake Erie to identify sources and pathways of P cycling and infer potential importance in relation to annual blooms of Cladophora that foul the shorelines of eastern Lake Erie. δ18OP data indicate that potential external source signatures are rapidly overprinted by biological cycling of P by the plankton community and that much of the available phosphate in the nearshore waters is derived from hydrolysis of dissolved organic P compounds. Near the dreissenid-colonized lake bed, δ18OP was persistently and significantly enriched in 18O relative to δ18OP measured in surface waters and was similar to δ18OP of phosphate excreted by dreissenid mussels in incubations. These results implicate dreissenid mussels as key agents in nearshore P cycling and highlight the importance of considering ecosystem changes in the development of nutrient management strategies designed to ameliorate symptoms of eutrophication.

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Scientific Publication: Phosphorus Dynamics and Availability in the Nearshore of Eastern Lake Erie: Insights From Oxygen Isotope Ratios of Phosphate
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Données de monitoring de la qualité de l'eau et de la santé de l'écosystème des Grands Lacs
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Great Lakes Water Quality Monitoring and Aquatic Ecosystem Health Data
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Reserche scientifique: Phosphorus Dynamics and Availability in the Nearshore of Eastern Lake Erie: Insights From Oxygen Isotope Ratios of Phosphate
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