Microbial Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 529–535 | Cite as

Contribution of Sediment Respiration to Summer CO2 Emission from Low Productive Boreal and Subarctic Lakes

  • Grete AlgestenEmail author
  • Sebastian Sobek
  • Ann-Kristin Bergström
  • Anders Jonsson
  • Lars J. Tranvik
  • Mats Jansson


We measured sediment production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) and the net flux of CO2 across the surfaces of 15 boreal and subarctic lakes of different humic contents. Sediment respiration measurements were made in situ under ambient light conditions. The flux of CO2 between sediment and water varied between an uptake of 53 and an efflux of 182 mg C m−2 day−1 from the sediments. The mean respiration rate for sediments in contact with the upper mixed layer (SedR) was positively correlated to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration in the water (r 2 = 0.61). The net flux of CO2 across the lake surface [net ecosystem exchange (NEE)] was also closely correlated to DOC concentration in the upper mixed layer (r 2 = 0.73). The respiration in the water column was generally 10-fold higher per unit lake area compared to sediment respiration. Lakes with DOC concentrations <5.6 mg L−1 had net consumption of CO2 in the sediments, which we ascribe to benthic primary production. Only lakes with very low DOC concentrations were net autotrophic (<2.6 mg L−1) due to the dominance of dissolved allochthonous organic carbon in the water as an energy source for aquatic organisms. In addition to previous findings of allochthonous organic matter as an important driver of heterotrophic metabolism in the water column of lakes, this study suggests that sediment metabolism is also highly dependent on allochthonous carbon sources.


Mixed Layer Dissolve Inorganic Carbon Dissolve Organic Carbon Concentration Mixed Layer Depth Boreal Lake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Eddie von Wachenfeldt for assistance in the field and for chemical analysis. This study was financially supported by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) and Helge Axson Johnsons Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grete Algesten
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sebastian Sobek
    • 2
  • Ann-Kristin Bergström
    • 1
  • Anders Jonsson
    • 3
  • Lars J. Tranvik
    • 2
  • Mats Jansson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Limnology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Climate Impacts Research CentreAbisko Scientific Research StationAbiskoSweden

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