Development of phytoplankton in Lake Pääjärvi (Finland) during under-ice convective mixing period
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Vehmaa, A. & Salonen, K. Aquat Ecol (2009) 43: 693. doi:10.1007/s10452-009-9273-4
- 188 Downloads
The development of winter phytoplankton communities was studied in both shallow and deep areas of Lake Pääjärvi, southern Finland, during the final 2 weeks of winter ice cover. Phytoplankton was mainly composed of diatoms, cryptophytes and chrysophytes. The diatoms Aulacoseira and Rhizosolenia were always uniformly distributed with depth, initially probably due to mixing induced by heat flux from the sediment and later due to thermal convection. Motile Rhodomonas cryptophytes and Chrysococcus chrysophytes were most abundant near the ice showing that, despite their small size, they were partly able to resist mixing by convection. Their ability to stay in more illuminated water layers was reflected in net rates of increase about an order of magnitude higher than those of diatoms in the middle of the lake. Given the low temperatures and convection, the observed net rates of increase of motile taxa were very high compared to growth rates reported in the literature. The gradual increase in light availability following melting of ice led to a consistent increase in the abundances of major phytoplankton taxa irrespective of deep convective circulation. It is suggested that those algae most abundant at the time of ice break have a competitive advantage in the following open water conditions when nutrients are abundant but deep water circulation limits light availability. The results emphasize that in lakes which cool below the maximum density of water before freezing, apparently small differences in temperature and light conditions can cause important changes in the circulation patterns that impact on phytoplankton development.