, Volume 599, Issue 1, pp 3–11 | Cite as

Nutrients and phytoplankton in Lake Peipsi during two periods that differed in water level and temperature

  • Marina Haldna
  • Anu Milius
  • Reet Laugaste
  • Külli KangurEmail author
ELLS 2007


Data for the vegetation periods (May–November) of 1985–2003 were used to collate the nutrient content and biomass of the most important phytoplankton groups in Lake Peipsi (Estonia). Two periods differing in external nutrient load and water level were compared by analysis of variance. The years 1985–1988 were characterized by the highest loads of nitrogen and phosphorus, high water level and cool summers. The years 2000–2003 were distinguished by low or medium water levels and warm summers. The first period showed statistically significantly higher values of total nitrogen (Ntot) and a higher Ntot:Ptot mass ratio. The second period showed a higher content of total phosphorus (Ptot), a higher ratio of dissolved inorganic compounds N to P and higher phytoplankton and cyanobacterial biomasses. Comparison between parts of the lake demonstrated that the differences between the two periods were more evident in the shallower and strongly eutrophic parts, Lake Pihkva and Lake Lämmijärv, than in the largest and deepest part, the moderately eutrophic Lake Peipsi s.s. Temperature and water level acted synergistically and evidently influenced phytoplankton via nutrients, promoting internal loading when the water level was low and the temperature high. The effect of water level was stronger in the shallowest part, Lake Pihkva. The difference in Ptot content between the southern and northern parts was twofold; the Ntot:Ptot mass ratio was significantly lower in the southern parts, and phytoplankton biomass (particularly the biomass of cyanobacteria) was significantly higher for Lake Pihkva and Lake Lämmijärv than for Lake Peipsi s.s.


Large and shallow lake Water level Nutrients Phytoplankton Cyanobacteria 



The research was supported by the Estonian target financed project SF 0362483s03 and the Estonian Science Foundation (grants 6008, 6820). Data from the Estonian State monitoring programme were used in this study. We are indebted to Mrs. Ester Jaigma for revising the English text of this article. The contribution of the anonymous referees is greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Haldna
    • 1
  • Anu Milius
    • 1
  • Reet Laugaste
    • 1
  • Külli Kangur
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia

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