Modification of the biogeochemical cycle of silica with eutrophication
Daniel J. Conley, Claire L. schelske, Eugene F. stoermer
Vol. 101: 179-192, 1993 MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.
ABSTRACT- Nutrient enrichment and consequent alteration of nutrient biogeochernical cycles is a serious problem in both freshwater and marine systems. The response of aquatic systems to additions of N and P is generally to increase algal biomass. The partitioning of these nutrients into different functional groups of autotrophic organisms is dependent upon both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
A common response to nutrient loading in northern temperate aquatic ecosystems is an increase in diatom biomass. Because nutrient enrichment generally leads to increases in water column concentrations of total N and total P (and not Si) such nutrient loading can lead to transient nutrient limitation of diatom biomass due to lack of dissolved silicate (DSi). Increased production of diatom biomass can lead to an increased accumulation of biogenic silica in sediments, ultimately resulting in a decline in the water column reservoir of DSi. Such biogeochemical changes in the silica cycle induced by eutrophication were first reported for the North American Laurentian Great Lakes. However, these changes are not a regional problem confined to the Great Lakes, but occur in many freshwater and marine systems throughout the world. Here we summarize the effects of anthropogenic modification of silica biogeochemical cycles for the North American Laurentian Great Lakes, describe some of the biogeochemical changes occurring in other systems, and discuss some of the ecological implications of a reduction in water column DSi concentrations, including changes in species composition, as DSi concentrations become limiting to diatom growth and biomass, changes in food web dynamics, and altered nutnent-recycling processes.
"Man cannot alter the inputs of DSi to aquatic ecosystems to any significant extent; they are essentially uncontrollable and result from weathering reactions in the watershed."
This is no longer true.
NUALGI is a cost effective means to provide Silica to diatoms.