Factors affecting the growth of Cladophora in relation to river pollution

  • Peter K. Robinson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Nuisance growths of Cladophora have been associated with eutrophication. A review of the literature, however, reveals a scarcity of relevant experimental growth studies. Sampling experimental streams reveals that the addition of sewage effluent to good quality water alters the flora from that dominated by Potamogetan crispus to one dominated by CLadophora. Spatial and temporal differences in biomass of taxa present are discussed in the context of accompanying physicochemical data. In laboratory batch culture, growth of unialgal C. glomerata was accompanied by elevation of medium pH - considered largely responsible for the poor growth in such culture. However, appropriate experimental conditions and indices of growth were selected and the effects of various herbicides assessed. Diquat and terbutryne were shown to possess algicidal activity towards Cladophora. A closed continuous culture apparatus was developed: growth proceeded through lag, logarithmic and linear phases. Inoculum size and medium flow rate had significant effects on growth, and were standardized. In continuous culture, specific growth rate increased linearly with increased duration of light per day, up to 24 hours, and increased light intensity, up to 6000 lux - the highest intensity tested. Comparison of field and laboratory results suggests that ammonia toxicity is attributable to the undissociated form. In the laboratory, 185 µg/1 undissociated ammoniacal nitrogen reduced specific growth rate to 50% of that at 10 µg/1 undissociated ammcniacal nitrogen. 0.077-1.057 mg/1 NO2-N had no significant effect on growth. 7.2-15.2 mg/1 NO3-N had no significant effect on specific growth rate. Neither was any nitrate/phosphate interaction significant. At 4.9 mg/1 PO4-1, specific growth rate was only 48% of that at 1.9 g/1 P04-P. The critical medium PO4-P concentration was <0.1 mg/i. Specific growth rate was reduced to 50% of that in natural water by 0.036 mgCu/l, 0.070 mgzn/1 and 1.03 mgPb/l. Metal uptake was evaluated.
Date of Award1983
Original languageEnglish


  • Cladophora
  • river pollution
  • growth
  • laboratory culture

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