Development of biomanipulation strategies for the remediation of eutrophication problems in an urban reservoir, Lago Paranoa, Brazil - PhDData

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Development of biomanipulation strategies for the remediation of eutrophication problems in an urban reservoir, Lago Paranoa, Brazil

The thesis was published by Starling, Fernando Luis do Rego Monteiro, in September 2022, University of Stirling.


The feasibility of improving water quality by food web manipulation in an urban
eutrophic tropical reservoir, Lago Paranoa (Brasilia, Brazil) was investigated. The
potential of promising biomanipulation strategies was experimentally tested in
limnocorrals: reduction of internal nutrient loading by controlling tilapia overpopulation,
and suppression of nuisance cyanobacteria by stocking non reproducing
filter-feeding silver carp.
A four-month test in two large littoral isolated areas of the reservoir (1,000 m2
each) stocked with high vs. low tilapia biomass revealed that fish over-population
promoted blooms of Microcystis and decreased water clarity by supplying
phytoplankton with additional nutrients (mainly phosphorus, “P”). Since reduction
of tilapia biomass from 150 to 40 g/m3 resulted in significant water quality
improvements, the release of commercial fisheries using cast-nets was
Field experiments III floating net-cages (10 m3) were conducted to evaluate
silver carp adaptation to Lago Paranoa and to determine fish growth rates when
maintained feeding exclusively on the abundant plankton in the reservoir. High
growth rates (up to 6 g/day) and survivorship (> 90%) of young-of-the-year (72 g),
juveniles (300 g) and adult silver carp (1100 g) during both dry and rainy season
were observed. Efficient ingestion of nuisance algae was evidenced by the
dominant presence of Microcystis aeruginosa and Botryococcus braunii colonies in
the fore-intestine of experimental fishes. Results indicate the great potential for
silver carp cage culture as a low-cost and environmentally beneficial economic
activity. Following indications from literature and previous studies in Lago Paranoa, the
optimum range of silver carp biomass which maximize phytoplankton control was
determined in ten large replicated limnocorrals (50 m3
). Although a significant
decrease in Microcystis abundance was achieved by stocking silver carp at all
biomass levels, net-phytoplankton biomass was only significantly suppressed at
moderate fish stocking densities of 40 and 60 g/m3
Two additional limnocorral experiments during dry and rainy seasons were
performed to test the effectiveness of both biomanipulation strategies when adopted
separately or simultaneously. Water quality improvements through control of tilapia
abundance (from 100 to 40 g/m3) and stocking with silver carp (at moderate
stocking rates of 40-50 g/m3) induced significant decreases in total phosphorus (21-
31 %), cyanobacteria density (40-44%) and phytoplankton biomass (22-38%). As
those strategies were found to act independently, the combination of both enhanced
water quality benefits by reducing total phosphorus by 38%, cyanobacteria density
by 75% and phytoplankton biomass by 60%.
To predict the internal P-loading reduction that could be achieved by
implementing both biomanipulation strategies on a whole-reservoir scale, P
excretion rates were quantified in indoor tanks for 16 and 40 g tilapia (0.527-1.576
ug SRP/g ww/h) and silver carp (0.391-0.737 ug SRP/g ww/h). It was estimated
that the tilapia contribution to internal P-Ioading (5.4 mg TP/m2/day for 1,300
kg/ha) is equivalent to external P input to the Bananal Branch (6.0 mg TP/m2/day).
A 60% reduction in tilapia biomass plus stocking of silver carp at densities of up to
60 g/m3 after three years would not change internal P-Ioading (5.6 mg TP/m2/day)
but would (1) reduce by 60% the input of “new” phosphorus to the water column
from tilapia bottom feeding, and (2) increase grazing on phytoplankton following
silver carp introduction.

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