, Volume 235-236, Issue 1, pp 375-385

Coupling between benthic biomass of Microcystis and phosphorus release from the sediments of a highly eutrophic lake

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Variations in microbial biomass and activity in the sediments of hypereutrophic Lake Vallentunasjön were followed during a period of 5 years. The data were compared to the calculated release of phosphorus from the sediments during the same period. A strong co-variation was found between biomass of Microcystis, heterotrophic bacterial activity in the sediments and internal phosphorus loading. These parameters exhibited mainly a declining trend during the investigation period. A pronounced stability of the sediment chemistry, including the fractional composition of the sediment phosphorus, during the studied period indicates that microbial activity affected the phosphorus release from the sediments. Calculations of the percentage of sediment bacteria that was associated to the mucilage of Microcystis colonies imply, together with the specific bacterial production, that Microcystis in the sediment stimulates bacterial production. In the highly phosphorus-saturated sediments of Lake Vallentunasjön this would ultimately lead to an increased release of phosphorus from the sediment. Lake Vallentunasjön does not follow the common pattern of recovery after reduction of external phosphorus loading. The large biomasses and long survival of Microcystis in the sediment are probably important reasons for the delayed recovery of the lake.