Primary producers are able to strongly affect calcium budget in hardwater lakes. The relative contribution of phytoplankton and charophytes to water decalcification (by precipitation of calcium carbonate) is, however, unclear. In this study we checked the effect of natural phytoplankton community and a charophyte (Nitellopsis obtusa) on the decline of calcium concentration in experimental outdoor conditions. The experiment was carried out in original lake water and two variants of enrichment with inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus to test the changing efficiency in decalcification by both primary producers. At low nutrient concentrations, N. obtusa was responsible for calcium decline in original lake water by 12 mg Ca 2 dm-3 during 20 days of experiment. In these conditions the effect of phytoplankton was negligible. In lake water enriched with nutrients, the exponential growth of phytoplankton led to the decrease of calcium concentration from initial 35 mg Ca 2 dm-3 to 9 mg Ca 2 dm-3 in the same time period. The maximum effect of N. obtusa was the same as in original lake water but manifested itself earlier to decline in the end of experiment. Supersaturation of water with calcium carbonate was always more than threefold and saturation index reached 27 in mixed cultures of phytoplankton and N. obtusa in lake water enriched with nutrients. In this context we hypothesise on a possible role of charophytes as nucleation sites necessary for calcite precipitation. Based on our own and literature data we also discuss expected immobilisation of phosphate incorporated in calcite precipitated by the growth of phytoplankton and N. obtusa.
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Vol. 62 • No. 3