Response of phytoplankton communities to acidification and recovery in Killarney Park and the Experimental Lakes Area, Ontario
Ambio 32(3): 190-195
ISSN/ISBN: 0044-7447 PMID: 12839194 DOI: 10.2307/4315363
It has been widely speculated that controls of SO2 emissions would stimulate recovery of acidified freshwater lakes in Canada, the United States and Europe. Phytoplankton communities from 22 lakes near Killarney Park Ontario, covering a pH range from 4.5-7.7, were studied from 1998-2000 and compared to data from experimentally acidified (pH decreased 6.7 to 4.5) and recovered (pH increased to 6.0) Lake 302 South at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), northwestern Ontario to assess recovery from acidification. Based on historical data, pH levels have rebounded to above 6.0 in several lakes in the Killarney area that were previously acidified to pH 5.0-5.5. Phytoplankton biomass was not correlated to pH, but there was a highly significant relationship between species richness and pH. Recovery trajectories were observed in a subset of 6 lakes, combining species diversity data from the present study with historical data. Correspondence analysis indicated that several of the lakes that experienced increased pH have shifted towards phytoplankton assemblages typical of circumneutral environments.