, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 336-348

Net Heterotrophy in Small Danish Lakes: A Widespread Feature Over Gradients in Trophic Status and Land Cover

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Abstract

Nineteen small lakes located in open landscapes or deciduous forests in nutrient-rich calcareous moraines in North Zealand, Denmark, were all net heterotrophic having negative net ecosystem production and predominant CO2 supersaturation and O2 undersaturation of lake waters. Forest lakes were poorer in nutrients, phytoplankton, and primary production, but richer in dissolved organic matter and CO2 than open lakes with more light available. The modeled annual balance between gross primary production and community respiration (GPP/R COM) averaged 0.60 in forest lakes and 0.76 in open lakes and the ratio increased significantly with phosphorus concentration and phytoplankton biomass but decreased with colored dissolved organic matter. The negative daily rates of ecosystem production resembled estimates of oxygen uptake from the atmosphere to the lakes, whereas estimates of CO2 emission were 7.2-fold higher. Although CO2-rich groundwater and anaerobic respiration support greater molar release of CO2 than uptake of O2, we suggest CO2 emission is overestimated. Possible explanations include CO2 enrichment of the air film above small wind-sheltered lakes. The observed metabolism and gas exchange show that exogenous organic matter is an important supplementary energy source to community respiration in these small lakes and that forest lakes, in addition, experience pronounced light attenuation from trees and dissolved colored organic matter constraining primary production.

Kaj Sand-Jensen (KSJ) formulated the original research idea and designed the study. Data analysis (ie. calculations, statistics and figures) was performed by Peter A. Staehr (PAS). The text was for the most part written by KSJ, although with contributions by PAS, especially in describing the applied methods and data analysis.