Effects of Corbicula fluminea on the nutrient concentration and phytoplankton biomass of tropical reservoirs

Authors

1 Present address: Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, 140 E Green St, Athens, GA, 30605, USA Agroenvironmental Sciences Department, College of Agricultural Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, P.O Box 9000, Mayaguez, PR, 00681, USA

2 University of Puerto Rico

3 Agroenvironmental Sciences Department, College of Agricultural Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, P.O Box 9000, Mayaguez, PR, 00681, USA

Abstract

Invasive bivalves are known to negatively impact aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Previous research has demonstrated invasive bivalves can shift nutrients from the water column to the sediment, harm native bivalves, and reduce phytoplankton biomass. However, bivalve effects vary with species and the region where the invasion occurs. Therefore, we used mesocosm experiments to examine the impact of invasive Corbicula fluminea on nutrient concentration and phytoplankton biomass in the water column of mesotrophic and eutrophic Puerto Rican reservoirs. We used four treatments to determine the effect of C. fluminea on the water column. We found C. fluminea did not have a significant effect on the ammonium, nitrate, or phosphorus concentration in either the mesotrophic or eutrophic mesocosm experiments. Additionally, C. fluminea presence did not significantly alter phytoplankton biomass, though Synedra dominated the phytoplankton community when C. fluminea were absent. While C. fluminea may not have caused an effect in the water column as it was potentially phytoplankton limited, the mesocosm experiment conditions reflect the natural environment, indicating phytoplankton limitation could be an issue in the reservoirs. Our findings suggest C. fluminea does not have a large effect on nutrient concentration or phytoplankton biomass in eutrophic and mesotrophic Puerto Rican reservoirs. This study represents the first effort to examine the effects of C. fluminea presence on the water column of a tropical reservoir.

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