Lotic ecosystem response to a chlorine disturbance

A. D. Steinman, P. J. Mulholland, A. V. Palumbo, D. L. Deangelis, T. E. Flum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Treatments included two circulation regimes (once-through or 98% recirculated) and two levels of grazer density (1000 individuals/m2 or 0 individuals/m2, using the snail Elimia clavaeformis). Resistance of periphyton biomass to an initial set of chlorine additions was greater in once-through than recirculated streams. Periphyton resistance following a second set of chlorine additions was greater in streams without snails, apparently a biomass-mediated response: the greater biomass levels in no-snail streams provided a larger buffer to the oxidizing action of chlorine. Resilience of chlorophyll-specific carbon fixation and exoproteolytic activity (an index of microbial activity) was greater in recirculated streams compared to once-through streams, but only when snails were present. Over the entire experimental period (15 wk), most structural parameters and area-specific carbon fixation rates were signficantly greater in 1) streams without snails compared to those with them and 2) streams with once-through circulation compared to those that were recirculated, but only for those streams with snails. These data are consistent with other findings that total residual chlorine concentrations of <1. 0 mg/L can significantly affect periphyton structure and function. However, nutrient cycling rates appeared to be little affected by the chlorine perturbation, which allowed recirculated systems to recover faster than predicted. Periphyton mat physiognomy and integrity strongly influence system resistance (due to buffering capacity) and resilience (because of nutrient cycling). -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-355
Number of pages15
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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