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1 May 2005 Abrupt Biological Response to Hydrologic and Land-use Changes in Lake Apopka, Florida, USA
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Abstract

Lake Apopka is a shallow, hypereutrophic lake in north-central Florida that experienced an abrupt shift in primary producer community structure (PPCS) in 1947. The PPCS shift was so abrupt anecdotal accounts report that dominant, submersed aquatic vegetation was uprooted by a hurricane in 1947 and replaced by phytoplankton within weeks. Here we propose two hypotheses to explain the sudden shift to phytoplankton. First, hydrologic modification of the drainage basin in the late 1800s lowered the lake level ca. 1.0 m, allowing the ecosystem to accommodate moderate, anthropogenic nutrient enrichment through enhanced production in the macrophyte community. Second, additional hydrologic changes and large-scale agricultural development of floodplain wetlands began in 1942 and altered the pattern and scale of phosphorus loading to the lake that triggered the rapid shift to phytoplankton dominance in 1947. Historic land-use changes and paleolimnological data on biological responses to nutrient loading support these hypotheses.

Claire L. Schelske, Edgar F. Lowe, Lawrence E. Battoe, Mark Brenner, Michael F. Coveney, and William F. Kenney "Abrupt Biological Response to Hydrologic and Land-use Changes in Lake Apopka, Florida, USA," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 34(3), (1 May 2005). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-34.3.192
Received: 29 September 2003; Accepted: 1 January 2004; Published: 1 May 2005
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