, Volume 599, Issue 1, pp 169–176 | Cite as

Relations of phytoplankton in situ primary production, chlorophyll concentration and underwater irradiance in turbid lakes

  • Helgi Arst
  • Tiina Nõges
  • Peeter Nõges
  • Birgot Paavel
ELLS 2007


In order to study the relationships among primary productivity, chlorophyll content and light conditions (underwater quantum irradiance, diffuse attenuation coefficient) in turbid lakes, we performed a series of measurements in three Estonian lakes (Peipsi, Võrtsjärv and Harku) during 2003–2005. We focused on (1) comparison of in situ vertical profiles of planar and scalar quantum irradiances in the water, (2) extremely high values of chlorophyll content and primary production in some turbid lakes and (3) analysis of the formation of the vertical profiles of primary production (shape and the depth of its maximum value) as a function of incident irradiance. The following parameters were measured: (a) primary production at different depths, (b) incident planar quantum irradiance in the region of 400–700 nm, (c) underwater downwelling planar and scalar quantum irradiances at different depths in the same waveband, (d) relative transparency of water (Secchi depth), (e) concentrations of chlorophyll a and (f) spectra of beam attenuation coefficient for unfiltered and filtered water in the wavelength range of 350–700 nm (from water samples). During 36 measurement days (14 in Peipsi, 14 in Võrtsjärv and 8 in Harku), and we collected reliable dataset for 53 measurement series. Our data showed the relative difference between underwater planar and scalar quantum irradiance in a range of about 25–65% implying big differences in primary production models if instead of the preferable scalar quantum irradiance planar irradiance data are used. The results showed a large variation of vertical profiles of primary production in relation to illumination conditions. The depth of maximum primary production depended on water turbidity and incident irradiance, and was located at the water surface in case of low illumination. The relationship between vertically integrated primary production and chlorophyll concentration could be described by a power function with an exponent of 0.64 (R2 = 0.81).


Primary production Underwater irradiance Optically active substances 



The authors are indebted to Estonian Ministry of Education (target funding project 03962480s03 and 0712699s05) and to Estonian Science Foundation (Grant 5594) for financial support to this investigation, and to Ants Erm, Tõnu Feldmann, Medhat Hussainov, Kersti Kangro, Evi Lill and Ilmar Tõnno for their help at field measurements and laboratory analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helgi Arst
    • 1
  • Tiina Nõges
    • 2
  • Peeter Nõges
    • 2
    • 3
  • Birgot Paavel
    • 1
  1. 1.Estonian Marine InstituteUniversity of TartuTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Centre for Limnology, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesRannuEstonia
  3. 3.European Commission, Joint Research CentreInstitute for Environment and Sustainability IspraItaly

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