, Volume 197, Issue 1, pp 105–114 | Cite as

Vernal microstratification patterns in a meromictic saline lake: their causes and biological significance

  • T. G. Northcote
  • K. J. Hall


Periodic high spring runoff, in addition to lake surface snow and ice melt, is shown to be a major cause of sharp secondary chemocline formation in a small (20 ha) lake arid and south-central British Columbia. Initially detected in 1982 at about 1 m and enhanced by high inflow of low salinity meltwater in spring 1983, the secondary chemocline gradually deepened and broke down over four subsequent years. Associated microstratification layers (major changes within a few cm of depth), exhibited very high temperatures (> 30 °C), and very high dissolved oxygen (> 200% saturation) as well as very low (close to 0% saturation) levels. Oxygen supersaturation resulted from photosynthetic production at the microstratification boundaries. In the springs of 1982 and 1983, formation of an anoxic layer between regions of high oxygen concentration, separated the phytoplankton and zooplankton communities into two layers above the primary chemocline. The several year persistence of the secondary chemoclines and associated interface processes (concentration of particulate organic matter, bacterial decomposition, nutrient regeneration, phytoplanktonic production) attest to their functional importance in this meromictic lake.

Key words

saline lakes meromixis microstratification climatic regulation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. G. Northcote
    • 1
  • K. J. Hall
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Westwater Research CentreThe University of British ColumbiaCanada

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