Seasonal dynamics of picophytoplankton in Lake Kinneret, Israel


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1. Picophytoplankton (picocyanobacteria and picoeukaryotes) communities in Lake Kinneret were studied from 1988 to 1992. No prochlorophytes were observed in the lake. 2. Picocyanobacteria were a prominent and ubiquitous component of the phytoplankton, being present at all depths throughout the year, with concentrations ranging from 2 ± 10–8 ± 105 cells ml−1. Low cell numbers in winter and spring were followed at the end of the annual dinoflagellate bloom by maximal abundances in summer‐autumn in the epilimnion. High cell numbers (> 104 cells ml−1) were sometimes also found in the anaerobic hypolimnion. Net growth rates for picocyanobacteria ranged from 0.29 to 0.60 divisions day−1. 3. Picoeukaryotes were a very minor constituent of the picoplankton, mostly present in winter and spring, and sometimes at the end of autumn, with concentrations ranging from 44 to 5700 cells ml−1. Higher cell numbers tended to occur in the near surface water layers. In August‐September, picoeukaryotes were found only in the hypolimnion. In December, the occurrence of picoeukaryotes in the deep water layers probably resulted from advection with cold water currents from the Jordan river. Net growth rates for picoeukaryotes ranged from 0.26 to 0.43 divisions day−1. 4. Overall, the contribution of picophytoplankton to the phytoplankton standing crop in Lake Kinneret was limited; picocyanobacteria and picoeukaryotes accounted for no more than 7.0 and 0.1% of total algal biomass (semiannual average), respectively. 5. Picophytoplankton cell numbers in pelagic waters were usually similar to those in shallower lake stations. 6. Picocyanobacteria appear to be an autochthonous population, whereas picoeukaryotes are probably brought annually by the Jordan River and do not maintain themselves in the lake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-254
Number of pages14
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1995


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