, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 295-307
Date: 03 Mar 2010

Vertical distributions of chlorophyll in deep, warm monomictic lakes

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Abstract

The factors affecting vertical distributions of chlorophyll fluorescence were examined in four temperate, warm monomictic lakes. Each of the lakes (maximum depth >80 m) was sampled over 2 years at intervals from monthly to seasonal. Profiles were taken of chlorophyll fluorescence (as a proxy for algal biomass), temperature and irradiance, as well as integrated samples from the surface mixed layer for chlorophyll a (chl a) and nutrient concentrations in each lake. Depth profiles of chlorophyll fluorescence were also made along transects of the longest axis of each lake. Chlorophyll fluorescence maxima occurred at depths closely correlated with euphotic depth (r 2 = 0.67, P < 0.01), which varied with nutrient status of the lakes. While seasonal thermal density stratification is a prerequisite for the existence of a deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM), our study provides evidence that the depth of light penetration largely dictates the DCM depth during stratification. Reduction in water clarity through eutrophication can cause a shift in phytoplankton distributions from a DCM in spring or summer to a surface chlorophyll maximum within the surface mixed layer when the depth of the euphotic zone (z eu) is consistently shallower than the depth of the surface mixed layer (z SML). Trophic status has a key role in determining vertical distributions of chlorophyll in the four lakes, but does not appear to disrupt the annual cycle of maximum chlorophyll in winter.