, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 1386–1400 | Cite as

Numerical Exploration of the Planktonic to Benthic Primary Production Ratios in Lakes of the Baltic Sea Catchment

  • Fabien Cremona
  • Alo Laas
  • Lauri Arvola
  • Don Pierson
  • Peeter Nõges
  • Tiina Nõges


Autotrophic structure refers to the partitioning of whole-ecosystem primary production between benthic and planktonic primary producers. Autotrophic structure remains poorly understood especially because of the paucity of estimates regarding benthic primary production. We used a conceptual model for numerically exploring the autotrophic structure of 13 hemiboreal lakes situated in the Baltic Sea catchment. We also used diel variations in primary production profiles to graphically evaluate levels of light and/or nutrient limitation in lakes. The input morphometric data, light extinction coefficients and dissolved carbon parameters were mostly obtained from in situ measurements. Results revealed that cross- and within-lake autotrophic structure varied greatly: one lake was clearly dominated by benthic production, and three lakes by phytoplankton production. In the rest, phytoplankton production was generally dominant but switch to benthic dominance was possible. The modelled primary production profiles varied according to lake water clarity and bathymetry. Our results clearly indicate that the relative contribution of benthic primary production to whole-lake primary production should be taken into account in studies about hemiboreal and boreal lakes.


primary production lake bathymetry chlorophyll a dissolved organic carbon light extinction coefficient 



The authors are grateful to Toomas Kõiv, Ingmar Ott and Pille Meinson for assistance in data analysing. Sean C. Godwin (Simon Fraser University) provided great help for the benthic production calculations. This research was supported by Start-Up Personal Research Grant PUT 777 to FC and IUT 21-2 of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, Estonian Science Foundation grant ETF9102, the EU through the European Regional Development Fund, program “Research Internationalisation” project LIMNO, the Swiss Grant “Enhancing public environmental monitoring capacities” and MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabien Cremona
    • 1
  • Alo Laas
    • 1
  • Lauri Arvola
    • 2
  • Don Pierson
    • 3
  • Peeter Nõges
    • 1
  • Tiina Nõges
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Limnology, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Lammi Biological Station, Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiLammiFinland
  3. 3.Erken Laboratory, Department of Ecology and GeneticsUppsala UniversityNorrtäljeSweden

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