, Volume 304, Issue 3, pp 221–234 | Cite as

Winter limnology: a comparison of physical, chemical and biological characteristics in two temperate lakes during ice cover

  • Michael D. Agbeti
  • John P. Smol


The winter dynamics of several chemical, physical, and biological variables of a shallow, polymictic lake (Opinicon) are compared to those of a deep, nearby dimictic lake (Upper Rock) during ice cover (January to early April) in 1990 and 1991. Both lakes were weakly inversely thermally stratified. Dissolved oxygen concentration was at saturation (11–15 mg l−1) in the top 3 m layer, but declined to near anoxic levels near the sediments. Dissolved oxygen concentrations in the deep lake were at saturation in most of the water column and approached anoxic levels near the sediments only. Nutrient concentrations in both lakes were fairly high, and similar in both lakes during ice cover. Total phosphorus concentrations generally ranged between 10–20 µg l−1, NH4-N between 16–100 µg l−1, and DSi between 0.9–1.9 mg l−1; these concentrations fell within summer ranges. NO3-N concentrations were between 51–135 µg l−1 during ice cover, but occurred at trace concentrations (<0.002 µg l−1) during the summer. The winter phytoplankton community of both lakes was dominated by flagellates (cryptophytes, chrysophytes) and occasionally diatoms. Dinoflagellates, Cyanobacteria and green algae were poorly represented. Cryptophytes often occurred in fairly high proportions (20–80%) throughout the water column, whereas chrysophytes were more abundant just beneath the ice. Zooplankton population densities were extremely low during ice cover (compared to maximum densities measured in spring or summer) in both lakes, and were comprised largely of copepods.

Key words

limnology winter ice cover chemistry temperature oxygen phytoplankton zooplankton 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Agbeti
    • 1
  • John P. Smol
    • 1
  1. 1.Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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