Image_1_Water Quality Improvement Shifts the Dominant Phytoplankton Group From Cryptophytes to Diatoms in a Coastal Ecosystem.tif
We investigated long-term variations in the dominant phytoplankton groups with improvements in water quality over 11 years in the Yeongil Bay on the southeastern coast of Korea. River discharge declined during the study period but TN from river discharge remained stable, indicating the input of enriched nutrients to the bay was fairly consistent. NH4+ levels decreased with a decrease in TN from the POSCO industrial complex. While the study region was characterized by the P-limited and deficient environment, cryptophytes dominated with the intensified P-limitations. The relative abundance of cryptophytes declined from 70% in 2010 to 10% in 2016, but that of diatoms increased from 70% in 2009 to 90% in 2016. Correlation analysis showed a positive correlation of cryptophytes with NH4+ and a negative correlation with photic depth. Generalized additive models also exhibited an increase in diatom dominance and a decrease in cryptophyte dominance with an increase in water quality, indicating that a decrease in NH4+ and increase in light favored the diatom growth but suppressed the cryptophyte growth. Thus, water quality improvements shift the dominant group in the coastal ecological niche from cryptophytes to diatoms.