, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 213-226
Date: 25 Apr 2008

Chlorophyll–nutrient relationships of different lake types using a large European dataset

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Abstract

In Europe there is a renewed focus on relationships between chemical determinands and ecological impact as a result of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). In this paper we use regression analysis to examine the relationship of growing season mean chlorophyll a concentration with total phosphorus and total nitrogen using summary data from over 1,000 European lakes. For analysis, lakes were grouped into types with three categories of mean depth, alkalinity and humic content. The lakes were also divided into broad geographic regions covering Atlantic, Northern, Central/Baltic and for some types the Mediterranean areas of Europe. Chlorophyll a was found to be significantly related to both total phosphorus and total nitrogen, although total phosphorus was almost always found to be the best predictor of chlorophyll. Different nutrient chlorophyll relationships were found for lakes according to mean depth and alkalinity, although no significant effect of geographic region or humic content was found for the majority of lake types. We identified three groups of lakes with significantly different responses. Deep lakes had the lowest yield of chlorophyll per unit of nutrient, low and moderate alkalinity shallow lakes the highest and high alkalinity lakes were intermediate. We recommend that the regression models provided for these three lake groups should be used for lake management in Europe and discuss the limitations of such models.