Investigating periphyton biofilm response to changing phosphorus concentrations in UK rivers using within-river flumes

Bowes, Michael J.; Lehmann, Katja; Jarvie, Helen; Singer, Andrew C.. 2010 Investigating periphyton biofilm response to changing phosphorus concentrations in UK rivers using within-river flumes. In: Kirby, Celia, (ed.) Role of Hydrology in Managing Consequences of a Changing Global Environment. British Hydrological Society, 384-389.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.

Download (1MB)


The excessive growth of benthic algal biofilms in UK rivers is a widespread problem, resulting in loss of plant communities and wider ecological damage. Elevated nutrient concentrations (particularly phosphorus) are often implicated, as P is usually considered the limiting nutrient in most rivers. Phosphorus loadings to rivers in the UK have rapidly decreased in the last decade,due to improvements in sewage treatment and changes to agricultural practises. However, in many cases, these improvements in water quality have not resulted in a reduction in nuisance algal growth. It is therefore vital that catchment managers know what phosphorus concentrations need to be achieved, in order to meet the UK’s obligations to attain good ecological status, under the EU’s Water Framework Directive. This study has developed a novel methodology, using within river mesocosms, which allows P concentrations of river water to be either increased or decreased, and the effect on biofilm accrual rate is quantified. These experiments identify the phosphorus concentrations at which algae becomes P-limited, which can be used to determine knowledge-based P targets for rivers. The ability to reduce P concentrations in river water enables algae–nutrient limitation to be studied in nutrient-enriched rivers for the first time.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.3 - Assess the responses of river, lake and wetland ecosystems to ecohydrological drivers
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
ISBN: 1903741173
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 26 Oct 2010 14:42 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...