Ecological Effects of Opportunistic Macroalgal Blooms on Aquatic Environments

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 5435

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Freshwater Hydrobiology, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Science, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russia
Interests: macroalgal blooms; coastal eutrophication; green tide; Baltic Sea

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The mass development phenomenon of opportunistic macroalgae as a response to an increase in nutrient loading has been known since the first half of the 20th century. This occurrence was first noted in the Great Lakes in an extended growth of the green macroalga Cladophora glomerata. Nowadays, this phenomenon has been seen around the world in both freshwater and marine habitats. In marine habitats, it was given the names the “green tide”, when referring to green opportunistic macroalgae, and the “golden tide”, corresponding to brown macroalgae. Despite the wide distribution of opportunistic macroalgal blooms, interest in this issue was only aroused in 2008, after the global “green tide” event in the western Yellow Sea, which had been caused by the development of Ulva in the greatest scale. The main negative consequences of such opportunistic macroalgal blooms include displacement of perennial marine macroalgae and global changes in coastal food webs. Another harmful consequence comes about from the accumulation of decaying algal masses on the coast, which causes hypoxia, mass mortality and the migration of benthic fauna.

This Special Issue aims to highlight new insights into the impacts of the mass development of opportunistic macroalgae on the environment and measures that could prevent and regulate these negative effects. It specifically focuses on i) patterns in opportunistic macroalgal bloom development ii) opportunistic macroalgae located in coastal communities and food webs, iii) natural and human-induced impact on opportunistic algal communities, iv) measures to decrease opportunistic macroalgal blooms harmful effects and v) different assessment methods for opportunistic macroalgal blooms.

Dr. Yulia I. Gubelit
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • opportunistic macroalgae
  • coastal eutrophication
  • green tide
  • green macroalgae
  • coastal food webs

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 1465 KiB  
Article
Benthic Invertebrates Abundance and Trophic Links in the Coastal Zone during Cladophora Blooms
by Nadezhda A. Berezina, Alexei V. Tiunov, Vasily A. Petukhov and Yulia I. Gubelit
Diversity 2022, 14(12), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14121053 - 01 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1644
Abstract
The green macroalga Cladophora glomerata, a species typical of brackish water, predominates in most coastal areas of estuarine ecosystems. The present study aimed to determine the current ecological conditions in the Neva estuary (Baltic Sea) when subjected to eutrophication and the summer [...] Read more.
The green macroalga Cladophora glomerata, a species typical of brackish water, predominates in most coastal areas of estuarine ecosystems. The present study aimed to determine the current ecological conditions in the Neva estuary (Baltic Sea) when subjected to eutrophication and the summer Cladophora bloom. Macroalgae bloom can result in temporary unfavorable conditions (oxygen depletion and pollution) for invertebrates during macroalgae decomposition, and its contribution to the autochthonous benthic food web remains unclear. We evaluated the Cladophora biomass and the abundance and composition of macro- and meiobenthic invertebrates and traced trophic links in the coastal area of the Neva estuary during the Cladophora bloom. Some species of grazing or omnivorous consumers (nematodes, gastropods, amphipods, insect larvae) reached high abundance in the Cladophora-dominated coastal community. The tracing of food sources in a food chain of the Cladophora-dominated coastal community (macrophytes-grazers-omnivores) were elucidated using dual δ13C and δ15N stable isotope analysis. The results showed that autochthonous organic sources derived from Cladophora at various stages might contribute notably (up to 89%) to the coastal food web, supporting the production of benthic consumers. Full article
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22 pages, 4307 KiB  
Article
Summer Dystrophic Criticalities of Non-Tidal Lagoons: The Case Study of a Mediterranean Lagoon
by Mauro Lenzi and Fabio Cianchi
Diversity 2022, 14(9), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14090771 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1494
Abstract
Eutrophication determines algal blooms and the subsequent accumulation of organic matter in sediments, which, in turn, results in the dominance of anaerobic respiratory processes that release toxic gases. Dystrophy is a final dissipative moment that reduces the organic load in the sediment. A [...] Read more.
Eutrophication determines algal blooms and the subsequent accumulation of organic matter in sediments, which, in turn, results in the dominance of anaerobic respiratory processes that release toxic gases. Dystrophy is a final dissipative moment that reduces the organic load in the sediment. A case of dystrophy occurring in the Burano lagoon (Tuscany, Italy) in 2021 is reported. The study examined the weather, physico-chemistry of the water, submerged vegetation and sediment labile organic matter. In spring, dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH showed high values, in an abundance of submerged vegetation, while low values had ammonium, nitrate and orthophosphate. In mid-August, as warm and moist sea breezes prevailed, hydrogen sulfide releases were produced, preceded by a sharp rise in ammonium and orthophosphate concentrations, which remained high until November. During dystrophy, DO varied between anoxia and oversaturation, the latter in Cyanobacteria blooms. Dystrophic waters evolved gradually due to microphytes blooms, which changed from Cyanobacteria, in August, to the Dinophyta Alexandrium tamarense, in September, and Bacillariophyta, in November. Sediment labile organic matter varied between 3% and 7%. Ruppia spiralis meadows suffered the total detachment of fronds and stems during the dystrophy and proved to be areas of accumulation of organic detritus, themselves sources of dystrophic phenomena. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 909 KiB  
Review
Opportunistic Macroalgae as a Component in Assessment of Eutrophication
by Yulia I. Gubelit
Diversity 2022, 14(12), 1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14121112 - 14 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1579
Abstract
For the last few decades, coastal eutrophication with the associated mass development of opportunistic macroalgae has increased on a global scale. Since the end of the 2000’s, the number of studies of macroalgal blooms also increased many times. Mass occurrences of such species [...] Read more.
For the last few decades, coastal eutrophication with the associated mass development of opportunistic macroalgae has increased on a global scale. Since the end of the 2000’s, the number of studies of macroalgal blooms also increased many times. Mass occurrences of such species as Cladophora spp., Ulva spp., and Spirogyra spp. caused a necessity to improve existing methods of ecological assessment and develop new ones. There are many indices based on macroalgae and developed for marine and estuarine ecosystems. However, for correct evaluation, they demand a presence of a number of species, including perennial species from the order Fucales. This requirement cannot be satisfied in fresh or brackish waters, including some estuaries, because often, the freshwater communities are dominated by only one or two opportunistic species. The present paper defines the most relevant topics in studies of macroalgal blooms and reviews indices and metrics which can be recommended for the ecological assessment in diverse habitats influenced or dominated by opportunistic macroalgae species. For ecological assessment of opportunistic communities, according to their seasonal peculiarities, the author recommends, besides biomass, involving evaluation of algal mats (thickness, coverage) and signs of hypoxia. Full article
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