UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aquatic macrophytes and periphyton communities as bioindicators of lake trophic status in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba Gray, Heather Joy


Aquatic conservation practitioners at Riding Mountain National Park of Canada (RMNP) are concerned with maintaining and restoring the ecological integrity of lakes within the park; thus, there is a need to identify lakes potentially at risk of eutrophication. The ability to identify at-risk lakes would allow lake managers to alleviate stressors, such as excess nutrients, before irreversible changes occur in the ecosystems. Aquatic macrophytes and periphyton have potential as bioindicators of lake trophic status. Both have a widespread distribution, their growth is tightly coupled with water clarity and they obtain their nutrients directly from the water column or lake bed, making them sensitive to changes in water quality. Previous studies have identified species diversity, and macrophyte and periphyton species as reliable predictors of lake ecological status. Aquatic macrophyte and periphyton surveys were conducted in forty-five and thirty lakes, respectively, in and immediately surrounding Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba. Non-metric multidimensional scaling, redundancy analysis and generalized linear models identified submerged aquatic macrophyte species diversity, Ruppia maritima, Potamogeton pectinatus and Chara spp. as having potential use as bioindicators of ecological change in Riding Mountain National Park lakes. Periphyton taxon diversity and individual taxa were not recommended for inclusion in future monitoring in Riding Mountain National Park without further study. It is my recommendation to incorporate aquatic macrophyte species and diversity monitoring along with established aquatic monitoring programs in Riding Mountain National Park.

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