, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 63–77 | Cite as

Epilimnetic sulfate reduction and its relationship to lake acidification

  • C. A. Kelly
  • J. W. M. Rudd


Sulfate reduction occurred from 0–3 cm below the surface of the epilimnetic sediments of three northwestern Ontario lakes, including L.223, which has been experimentally acidified by additions of sulfuric acid. Shallow water sites were conducive to SO42− reduction because decomposition in these predominantly sandy sediments caused oxygen concentrations to decrease rapidly within mm below the interface. The occurrence of methanogenesis just below the depth of minimum SO42- concentration demonstrated that availability of organic carbon was not a limiting factor for sulphate reduction.

Laboratory studies showed that SO42- reduction rates in mixed sediments were lower at pH 4 than at pH 6. However, sulfate gradients in sediments indicated that there was no effect of acidification on sulfate reduction in situ. This was probably because microbial H+ consumption in the epilimnetic sediments maintained steep pH gradients below the sediment-water interface. The pH increased from = 5.0 to 6.5 or higher by a depth of 3.0 cm into the sediments.

Key words

sulfate reduction sediment lake acidification 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Kelly
    • 1
  • J. W. M. Rudd
    • 2
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentUniversity of WinnipegWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Freshwater InstituteWinnipegCanada

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