Publication Title

Freshwater Science

Document Type


Department or Program


Second Department or Program

Environmental Studies

Publication Date



Recruitment from dormant stages in the benthos can provide a critically important inoculum for surface populations of phytoplankton, including bloom-forming cyanobacteria. For example, water-column populations of the large (1–3-mm diameter) colonial cyanobacterium Gloeotrichia echinulata (Smith) P. Richter can be strongly subsidized by benthic recruitment. Therefore, understanding controls on recruitment is essential to an investigation of the factors controlling Gloeotrichiablooms, which are increasing in low-nutrient lakes across northeastern North America. We quantified surface abundances and recruitment from littoral sediments at multiple near-shore sampling sites in oligotrophic Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, USA, during the summers of 2005–2012 and used this data set—the longest known record of cyanobacterial recruitment—to investigate potential drivers of interannual differences in Gloeotrichia recruitment. We found extensive spatiotemporal variability in recruitment. Recruitment was higher at some sites than others, and within seasons, recruitment into replicate traps at the same site was generally more similar than recruitment at different sites. These data suggest that local factors, such as substrate quality or the size of the seed bank, may be important controls on recruitment. Benthic recruitment probably accounted forGloeotrichia recruitment may be related to regional climatic variability.


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