It Takes Two to Tango: When and Where Dual Nutrient (N & P) Reductions Are Needed to Protect Lakes and Downstream EcosystemsEnvironmental Science & Technology (2016)
Preventing harmful algal blooms (HABs) is needed to protect lakes and downstream ecosystems. Traditionally, reducing phosphorus (P) inputs was the prescribed solution for lakes, based on the assumption that P universally limits HAB formation. Reduction of P inputs has decreased HABs in many lakes, but was not successful in others. Thus, the “P-only” paradigm is overgeneralized. Whole-lake experiments indicate that HABs are often stimulated more by combined P and nitrogen (N) enrichment rather than N or P alone, indicating that the dynamics of both nutrients are important for HAB control. The changing paradigm from P-only to consideration of dual nutrient control is supported by studies indicating that (1) biological N fixation cannot always meet lake ecosystem N needs, and (2) that anthropogenic N and P loading has increased dramatically in recent decades. Sediment P accumulation supports long-term internal loading, while N may escape via denitrification, leading to perpetual N deficits. Hence, controlling both N and P inputs will help control HABs in some lakes and also reduce N export to downstream N-sensitive ecosystems. Managers should consider whether balanced control of N and P will most effectively reduce HABs along the freshwater-marine continuum.
Citation InformationWayne A. Wurtsbaugh. "It Takes Two to Tango: When and Where Dual Nutrient (N & P) Reductions Are Needed to Protect Lakes and Downstream Ecosystems" Environmental Science & Technology Vol. 50 Iss. 20 (2016) p. 10805 - 10813
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/wayne_wurtsbaugh/185/