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Title: Using HPLC and PCR-DGGE for the assessment of phytoplankton and bacterioplankton communities in Scottish freshwater lakes
Author: Dumur, Danishta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 8636
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of the Highlands and Islands
Date of Award: 2013
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The applicability of HPLC and PCR-DGGE was tested on water samples from Loch Rannoch during a spatio-temporal assessment of the plankton communities. The deep oligotrophic lake, which stratified over summer, contained a low phytoplankton biomass, as revealed by microscopy and HPLC. Variations in the phytoplankton data were related to changes in light, temperature and nutrients. Spatial heterogeneity in the BCCs across and down the water column was mainly associated with stratification and dissolved organic carbon. An assessment of changes in plankton communities was made fortnightly in mesotrophic Loch Calder. Major peaks in cyanobacteria and diatoms occurred in summer 2009 and spring 2010 respectively, with lower phytoplankton biomasses noted over autumn and winter. Aspects of plankton eco-physiology were assessed by the quantification of pigment degradation products and carotenoids, which showed evidence of photo-protection, grazing and senescence. Bacterioplankton density was positively correlated to phytoplankton biomass and BCC appeared to shift in accordance with transitions in ecological seasons. A geospatial study of 20 Highland lakes revealed a diverse range of lake types. The pigment profiles corroborated their respective microscopy data, with lakes with pronounced differences in pH having distinct phytoplankton compositions. BEPM and BFC in Loch Calder and the Highland lakes showed some discrepancies which could be explained by factors such as sample processing and the sensitivities of the respective techniques. The presence of at least 60 dominant bacterioplankton taxa in the northern Highland lakes showed that diversity in Scottish lakes was comparable to that in some northern European lakes. This work is the first to demonstrate the applicability of HPLC and PCR-DGGE as viable tools for the assessment of biomass, composition and diversity of phytoplankton and bacterioplankton in Scottish freshwater lakes. Furthermore, the study highlights the potential of the pigment data in assessing the ecological status of the freshwater lakes.
Supervisor: Gibb, Stuart ; Burtscher, Martina Maria ; Squier, Angela Sponsor: UHI
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available