Reducing Phosphorus to Curb Lake Eutrophication is a Success

TitleReducing Phosphorus to Curb Lake Eutrophication is a Success
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSchindler, D. W., Carpenter S. R., Chapra S. C., Hecky R. E., and Orihel D. M.
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Number of Pages8923-8929
Date PublishedSep
Type of ArticleArticle
Reprint Number0013-936X
LTER Accession NumberWOS:000382805800003
Keywordslimitation; nitrate; carbon; washington; ecosystems, re-eutrophication; algal blooms; nitrogen; phytoplankton; nutrient;

As human populations increase and land-use intensifies, toxic and unsightly nuisance blooms of algae are becoming larger and more frequent in freshwater lakes. In most cases, the blooms are predominantly blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria), which are favored by low ratios of nitrogen to phosphorus. In the past half century, aquatic scientists have devoted much effort to understanding the causes of such blooms and how they can be prevented or reduced. Here we review the evidence, finding that numerous long-term studies of lake ecosystems in Europe and North America show that controlling algal blooms and other symptoms of eutrophication, depends on reducing inputs of a single nutrient: phosphorus. In contrast, small-scale experiments of short duration, where nutrients are added rather than removed, often give spurious and confusing results that bear little relevance to solving the problem of cyanobacteria blooms in lakes.

Print Copy LocationEnviron. Sci. Technol.