Ecosystems

, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 395–410

Spatial Variation among Lakes within Landscapes: Ecological Organization along Lake Chains

  • Patricia A.  Soranno
  • Katherine E.  Webster
  • Joan L.  Riera
  • Timothy K.  Kratz
  • Jill S.  Baron
  • Paul A.  Bukaveckas
  • George W.  Kling
  • David S.  White
  • Nel  Caine
  • Richard C.  Lathrop
  • Peter R.  Leavitt

DOI: 10.1007/s100219900089

Cite this article as:
Soranno, P., Webster, K., Riera, J. et al. Ecosystems (1999) 2: 395. doi:10.1007/s100219900089

ABSTRACT

Although limnologists have long been interested in regional patterns in lake attributes, only recently have they considered lakes connected and organized across the landscape, rather than as spatially independent entities. Here we explore the spatial organization of lake districts through the concept of landscape position, a concept that considers lakes longitudinally along gradients of geomorphology and hydrology. We analyzed long-term chemical and biological data from nine lake chains (lakes in a series connected through surface or groundwater flow) from seven lake districts of diverse hydrologic and geomorphic settings across North America. Spatial patterns in lake variables driven by landscape position were surprisingly common across lake districts and across a wide range of variables. On the other hand, temporal patterns of lake variables, quantified using synchrony, the degree to which pairs of lakes exhibit similar dynamics through time, related to landscape position only for lake chains with lake water residence times that spanned a wide range and were generally long (close to or greater than 1 year). Highest synchrony of lakes within a lake chain occurred when lakes had short water residence times. Our results from both the spatial and temporal analyses suggest that certain features of the landscape position concept are robust enough to span a wide range of seemingly disparate lake types. The strong spatial patterns observed in this analysis, and some unexplained patterns, suggest the need to further study these scales and to continue to view lake ecosystems spatially, longitudinally, and broadly across the landscape.

Key words: landscape position; lake variability; lake districts; synchrony; coherence; north temperate lakes; lake chains; lake order; lake number; water residence time. 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A.  Soranno
    • 1
  • Katherine E.  Webster
    • 1
  • Joan L.  Riera
    • 1
  • Timothy K.  Kratz
    • 1
  • Jill S.  Baron
    • 3
  • Paul A.  Bukaveckas
    • 4
  • George W.  Kling
    • 5
  • David S.  White
    • 6
  • Nel  Caine
    • 7
  • Richard C.  Lathrop
    • 1
  • Peter R.  Leavitt
    • 8
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin, Center for Limnology, 680 N. Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA US
  2. 2.Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1350 Femrite Drive, Monona, Wisconsin 53716, USA US
  3. 3.US Geological Survey Biological Resources Division and Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA US
  4. 4.Department of Biology, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, USA US
  5. 5.Department of Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA US
  6. 6.Hancock Biological Station, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky 42071, USA US
  7. 7.Department of Geography, and Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, Campus Box 450, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA US
  8. 8.Limnology Laboratory, Department of Biology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2, Canada CA

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