Consistent annual patterns of water mass occupancy are revealed by taxonomic units of Lake Kinneret phytoplankton

Yury Kamenir, Zvy Dubinsky, Tamar Zohary

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2 Scopus citations


A modified type of species size-frequency distribution or "taxonomic size spectrum" (TSS) was applied to analyze phytoplankton structural change under environmental impacts, using Lake Kinneret as a monitoring database. While the 'traditional' TSS (TTSS) describes the distribution of the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) number into size classes, the frequency-weighted TSS (FTSS) distributes the frequency of occurrence of OTUs in water samples, accounting for the water mass occupancy by algal species, i.e., the time-spatial structure of the studied assemblage. FTSS consistency was proven for two dramatically different monitoring periods, where the "extreme" period (1996-1999) was characterized by pronounced deformations of the established patterns of phytoplankton annual succession for the "stable" period (1982-1985). Quantitative similarity estimates for the phytoplankton assemblage taxonomic time-spatial structure were produced by cluster analysis. Specific changes in the FTSS fine structure were evident and helpful for diagnostics, being more pronounced during the extreme years. The descriptors providing quantitative similarity comparisons for the aquatic assemblage structure, while not requiring deep taxonomic knowledge, may be helpful for lake managers and environmental agencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Plant Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Eva Feldman and Tatiana Fishbein, who conducted the phytoplankton counts as part of the Kin-neret monitoring program, funded by the Israel Water Commission. Additional size spectrum analysis was made available due to grant # 22-17-016 from the Israel Ministry of National Infrastructure to TZ and YK, and EC grant INTAS-03-51-6196 to YK. We are grateful to Trevor Platt and Alexander Prazukin for valuable discussion and advice.


  • Community time-spatial structure
  • Environmental impact
  • Phytoplankton
  • Size-frequency distribution
  • Taxonomic size spectra


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