Factors Influencing Algae-Clay Aggregation

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The dumping of bauxite tailings on a clear-water Amazonian lake caused a significant decrease in phytoplankton densities. The influence of these suspended clay particles on algal sinking, through algae-clay aggregation, was investigated under laboratory conditions, by measuring fluctuations in algal population densities over time, with different suspended clay concentrations. The population densities of the four algal species tested, Phormidium amoenum, Mougeotia sp., Staurodesmus convergens and Chlorella sp., were decreased by the algae-clay aggregation. The extent of this process was dependent on algal morphological characteristics such as size and shape, as well as on the concentration of suspended clay particles.

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