Conclusion: Ecology of Meromictic Lakes

  • Ramesh D. GulatiEmail author
  • Egor S. Zadereev
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 228)


The term meromixis was introduced more than 80 years ago to denote lakes that do not annually mix completely. Since then our understanding of meromictic lakes has considerably advanced. Physical processes support the difference in water density between deep (monimolimnion ) and surface (mixolimnion ) waters in meromictic lakes; such lakes reveal complex biogeochemical interactions that contribute to the maintenance of meromixis. This Conclusion chapter of the book on Ecology of Meromictic Lakes presents the general overview of physical, chemical and biological properties of meromictic lakes, based partly on the foregoing 12 chapters. The broad spectrum of meromixis supported by different processes in lakes located in different regions and climates is presented. We stress the importance of undisturbed sediments in meromictic lakes as paleolimnological archives and demonstrate how this information can be used to reconstruct lake history and development over longer time periods. The effects of switch from holomictic to meromictic regime and vice versa on the food web and biological community are demonstrated by some of the case study lakes. However, we do not have the mathematical or modeling tools to understand all the causal factor for processes that switch the mixing regimes of lakes. Man-made meromictic lakes (pit lakes) can be used as lake management tools to control water quality in lakes . We discuss that numerical simulations and model forecasts are important tools to predict the mixing regimes in both man-made and natural meromictic lakes. Biogeochemical reactions play important role in cycling of nutrients in meromictic lakes. Both anoxygenic photosynthesis and chemolithoautotrophy are exceptionally important for fixation of inorganic carbon in organic matter in meromictic lakes. These carbon fixation activities link the carbon cycle with the sulphur, nitrogen and iron cycles. Studies of meromictic lakes—aquatic systems where physics, biogeochemistry and ecology interact intensively—give us new insights into the limnology of inland lakes.


Anammox Bacterium Meromictic Lake Double Diffusive Convection Biogeochemical Reaction Iron Cycle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



EZ was partially supported by the Council on grants from the President of the Russian Federation for support of leading scientific schools (grant NSh-9249.2016.5).


  1. Boehrer B, Schultze M (2008) Stratification of lakes. Rev Geophys 46:RG2005. doi: 10.1029/2006RG000210 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bootsma HA, Hecky RE (2003) A comparative introduction to the biology and limnology of the African Great Lakes. J Great Lakes Res 29:3–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Camacho A, Erez J, Chicote A et al (2001) Microbial microstratification, inorganic carbon photoassimilation and dark carbon fixation at the chemocline of the meromictic Lake Cadagno (Switzerland) and its relevance to the food web. Aquat Sci 63:91–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Castendyk DN, Eary LE 2009 The nature and global distribution of pit lakes. In: Castendyk DN, Eary LE (eds) Mine pit lakes: characteristics, predictive modeling, and sustainability. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Littleton, CO, pp 1–11Google Scholar
  5. Ciglenečki I, Janeković I, Marguš M et al (2015) Impacts of extreme weather events on eutrophic seawater ecosystem (Rogoznica Lake, Adriatic coast). Cont Shelf Res 108:144–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cooke GD, Welch EB, Peterson SA, Nichols SA (2005) Restoration and management of lakes and reservoirs, 3rd edn. Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  7. Crowe SA, Jones C, Katsev S et al (2008) Photoferrotrophs thrive in an Archean Ocean analogue. Proc Natl Acad Sci 105:15938–15943CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Crowe SA, Katsev S, Leslie K et al (2011) The methane cycle in ferruginous Lake Matano. Geobiology 9:61–78CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Dietz S, Lessmann D, Boehrer B (2012) Contribution of solutes to density stratification in a meromictic lake (Waldsee/Germany). Mine Water Environ 31:129–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Findenegg I (1935) Limnologische Untersuchungen im Kärntener Seengebiete. Ein Beitrag zu Kenntnis des Stoffhaushaltes in Alpenseen. Int Rev Gesamten Hydrobiol Hydrogr 32:369–423Google Scholar
  11. Guildford SJ, Bootsma HA, Fee EJ et al (2000) Phytoplankton nutrient status and mean water column irradiance in Lakes Malawi and Superior. Aquat Ecosyst Health Manag Soc 3:35–45Google Scholar
  12. Humayoun S, Bano N, Hollibaugh JT (2003) Phylogenetic composition of the bacterioplankton from an alkaline, hypersaline lake, Mono Lake, California. Appl Environ Microbiol 69:1030–1042CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Hutchinson GE (1957) A treatise on limnology, Geography, physics and chemistry, vol 1. Wiley, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  14. Kalugin I, Darin A, Rogozin D, Tretyakov G (2013) Seasonal and centennial cyclesof carbonate mineralization during the past 2500 years from varved sediment in Lake Shira, South Siberia. Quat Int 290–291:245–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Katsev S, Crowe SA (2015) Organic carbon burial efficiencies in sediments: The power law of mineralization revisited. Geology 43:607–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Katsev S, Crowe SA, Mucci A et al (2010) Mixing and its effects on biogeochemistry in the persistently stratified, deep, tropical Lake Matano, Indonesia. Limnol Oceanogr 55:763–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kling GW (1987) Seasonal mixing and catastrophic degassing in tropical lakes, Cameroon, West Africa. Science 237:1022–1024CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Overmann J, Sandmann G, Hall KG, Northcote T (1993) Fossil carotenoids and paleolimnology of meromictic Mahoney Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Aquat Sci 55:1015–1621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pelletier CA, Wen ME, Poling GW (2009) Flooding pit lakes with surface water. In: Castendyk DN, Eary LE (eds) Mine pit lakes. Society for Mining Metallurgy and Exploration, Littleton, CO, pp 187–202Google Scholar
  20. Sánchez-España J, Diez-Ercilla M, Pérez Cerdán F, Yusta I, Boyce AJ (2014) Hydrological investigation of a multi-stratified pit lake using radioactive and stable isotopes combined with hydrometric monitoring. J Hydrol 511:494–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Snoeks J (2000) How well known is the ichthyodiversity of the large East African lakes? Adv Ecol Res 31:17–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vandenberg J (2011) Use of water quality models for design and evaluation of pit lakes. In: McCullough CD (ed) 2011 Mine Pit Lakes: closure and management. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, WA, pp 63–80Google Scholar
  23. Verburg P, Hecky RE, Kling H (2003) Ecological consequences of a century of warming in Lake Tanganyika. Science 301:505–507CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Vollmer MK, Weiss RF, Bootsma HA (2002) Ventilation of Lake Malawi/Nyasa. In: Odada EO, Olago DO (eds) The East African great lakes: limnology, paleolimnology and biodiversity. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 209–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. von Rohden C, Boehrer B, Ilmberger J (2010) Evidence for double diffusion in temperate meromictic lakes. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14:667–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wetzel RG (2001) Limnology: lake and river ecosystems. Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  27. Wirth SB, Gilli A, Niemann H et al (2013) Combining sedimentological, trace metal (Mn, Mo) and molecular evidence for reconstructing past water-column redox conditions: the example of meromictic Lake Cadagno (Swiss Alps). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 120:220–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)WageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute of Biophysics SB RASKrasnoyarskRussia

Personalised recommendations