In-lake processes offset increased terrestrial inputs of dissolved organic carbon and color to lakes.
ABSTRACT: Increased color in surface waters, or browning, can alter lake ecological function, lake thermal stratification and pose difficulties for drinking water treatment. Mechanisms suggested to cause browning include increased dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and iron concentrations, as well as a shift to more colored DOC. While browning of surface waters is widespread and well documented, little is known about why some lakes resist it. Here, we present a comprehensive study of Mälaren, the third largest lake in Sweden. In Mälaren, the vast majority of water and DOC enters a western lake basin, and after approximately 2.8 years, drains from an eastern basin. Despite 40 years of increased terrestrial inputs of colored substances to western lake basins, the eastern basin has resisted browning over this time period. Here we find the half-life of iron was far shorter (0.6 years) than colored organic matter (A???; 1.7 years) and DOC as a whole (6.1 years). We found changes in filtered iron concentrations relate strongly to the observed loss of color in the western basins. In addition, we observed a substantial shift from colored DOC of terrestrial origin, to less colored autochthonous sources, with a substantial decrease in aromaticity (-17%) across the lake. We suggest that rapid losses of iron and colored DOC caused the limited browning observed in eastern lake basins. Across a wider dataset of 69 Swedish lakes, we observed greatest browning in acidic lakes with shorter retention times (< 1.5 years). These findings suggest that water residence time, along with iron, pH and colored DOC may be of central importance when modeling and projecting changes in brownification on broader spatial scales.
Project description:Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), a major component of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool in many lakes, is an important controlling factor in lake ecosystem functioning. Absorption coefficients at 440 nm (a440, m-1), a common measure of CDOM, exhibited strong associations with dissolved iron (Fediss) and DOC in 280 lakes of the Upper Great Lakes States (UGLS: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), as has been found in Scandinavia and elsewhere. Linear regressions between the three variables on UGLS lake data typically yielded R2 values of 0.6-0.9, suggesting that some underlying common processes influence organic matter and Fediss. Statistical and experimental evidence, however, supports only a minor role for iron contributions to a440 in UGLS lakes. Although both DOC and Fediss were significant variables in linear and log-log regressions on a440, DOC was the stronger predictor; adding Fediss to the linear a440-DOC model improved the R2 only from 0.90 to 0.93. Furthermore, experimental additions of FeIII to colored lake waters had only small effects on a440 (average increase of 0.242 m-1 per 100 ?g/L of added FeIII). For 136 visibly stained waters (with a440 > 3.0 m-1), where allochthonous DOM predominates, DOM accounted for 92.3 ± 5.0% of the measured a440 values, and Fediss accounted for the remainder. In 75% of the lakes, Fediss accounted for < 10% of a440, but contributions of 15-30% were observed for 7 river-influenced lakes. Contributions of Fediss in UGLS lakes to specific UV absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA254) generally were also low. Although Fediss accounted for 5-10% of measured SUVA254 in a few samples, on average, 98.1% of the SUVA254 signal was attributable to DOM and only 1.9% to Fediss. DOC predictions from measured a440 were nearly identical to those from a440 corrected to remove Fediss contributions. Overall, variations in Fediss in most UGLS lakes have very small effects on CDOM optical properties, such as a440 and SUVA254, and negligible effects on the accuracy of DOC estimated from a440, data for which can be obtained at broad regional scales by remote sensing methods.
Project description:Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and water colour are increasing in many inland waters across northern Europe and northeastern North America. This inland-water "browning" has profound physical, chemical and biological repercussions for aquatic ecosystems affecting water quality, biological community structures and aquatic productivity. Potential drivers of this "browning" trend are complex and include reductions in atmospheric acid deposition, changes in land use/cover, increased nitrogen deposition and climate change. However, because of the overlapping impacts of these stressors, their relative contributions to DOC dynamics remain unclear, and without appropriate long-term monitoring data, it has not been possible to determine whether the ongoing "browning" is unprecedented or simply a "re-browning" to pre-industrial DOC levels. Here, we demonstrate the long-term impacts of acid deposition and climate change on lake-water DOC concentrations in low and high acid-deposition areas using infrared spectroscopic techniques on ~200-year-long lake-sediment records from central Canada. We show that acid deposition suppressed naturally higher DOC concentrations during the 20th century, but that a "re-browning" of lakes is now occurring with emissions reductions in formerly high deposition areas. In contrast, in low deposition areas, climate change is forcing lakes towards new ecological states, as lake-water DOC concentrations now often exceed pre-industrial levels.
Project description:Inputs of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to lakes derived from the surrounding landscape can be stored, mineralized or passed to downstream ecosystems. The balance among these OC fates depends on a suite of physical, chemical, and biological processes within the lake, as well as the degree of recalcintrance of the allochthonous DOC load. The relative importance of these processes has not been well quantified due to the complex nature of lakes, as well as challenges in scaling DOC degradation experiments under controlled conditions to the whole lake scale. We used a coupled hydrodynamic-water quality model to simulate broad ranges in lake area and DOC, two characteristics important to processing allochthonous carbon through their influences on lake temperature, mixing depth and hydrology. We calibrated the model to four lakes from the North Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research site, and simulated an additional 12 'hypothetical' lakes to fill the gradients in lake size and DOC concentration. For each lake, we tested several mineralization rates (range: 0.001 d(-1) to 0.010 d(-1)) representative of the range found in the literature. We found that mineralization rates at the ecosystem scale were roughly half the values from laboratory experiments, due to relatively cool water temperatures and other lake-specific factors that influence water temperature and hydrologic residence time. Results from simulations indicated that the fate of allochthonous DOC was controlled primarily by the mineralization rate and the hydrologic residence time. Lakes with residence times <1 year exported approximately 60% of the DOC, whereas lakes with residence times >6 years mineralized approximately 60% of the DOC. DOC fate in lakes can be determined with a few relatively easily measured factors, such as lake morphometry, residence time, and temperature, assuming we know the recalcitrance of the DOC.
Project description:Lake Chad is one of the largest lakes in the world, but extremely vulnerable to the changing climate and human activities in the basin. The Lake Chad basin is one of the largest endorheic basins in the world and straddles the borders of Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, and Sudan. In the last 40-50 years, the lake has shrunk from a surface area of 25,000 km2 to 2000 km2. However, the availability and quality of hydro-climatic data for researchers are major barriers to research. Since observed station data is highly sparse in the basin and difficult to collect, monthly climatic data was extracted from the gridded Climate Research Unit (CRU) dataset. The gridded CRU temperature and rainfall data was extracted at 81 points, and monthly temperature and rainfall data was converted into daily data for hydrologic modelling in Mahmood and Jia . This data article also includes observed streamflow data of 3 hydrometric stations and rainfall data of 11 stations, which was obtained from the Lake Chad Basin Commission. Natural streamflow data simulated with hydrologic model at N'Djamena station on the Chari-Logone River is also included in this data article.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The deep-sea, hypersaline anoxic brine lakes in the Mediterranean are among the most extreme environments on earth, and in one of them, the MgCl2-rich Discovery basin, the presence of active microbes is equivocal. However, thriving microbial communities have been detected especially in the chemocline between deep seawater and three NaCl-rich brine lakes, l'Atalante, Bannock and Urania. By contrast, the microbiota of these brine-lake sediments remains largely unexplored. RESULTS:Eighty nine isolates were obtained from the sediments of four deep-sea, hypersaline anoxic brine lakes in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: l'Atalante, Bannock, Discovery and Urania basins. This culture collection was dominated by representatives of the genus Bacillus and close relatives (90% of all isolates) that were investigated further. Physiological characterization of representative strains revealed large versatility with respect to enzyme activities or substrate utilization. Two third of the isolates did not grow at in-situ salinities and were presumably present as endospores. This is supported by high numbers of endospores in Bannock, Discovery and Urania basins ranging from 3.8 x 10(5) to 1.2 x 10(6) g(-1) dw sediment. However, the remaining isolates were highly halotolerant growing at salinities of up to 30% NaCl. Some of the novel isolates affiliating with the genus Pontibacillus grew well under anoxic conditions in sulfidic medium by fermentation or anaerobic respiration using dimethylsulfoxide or trimethylamine N-oxide as electron acceptor. CONCLUSION:Some of the halophilic, facultatively anaerobic relatives of Bacillus appear well adapted to life in this hostile environment and suggest the presence of actively growing microbial communities in the NaCl-rich, deep-sea brine-lake sediments.
Project description:Due to altered biogeochemical processes related to climate change, highly colored dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from terrestrial sources will lead to a water "brownification" in many freshwater systems of the Northern Hemisphere. This will create deteriorated visual conditions that have been found to affect habitat-specific morphological variations in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) in a previous study. So far, potential drivers and ultimate causes of these findings have not been identified. We conducted a field study to investigate the connection between morphological divergence and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) composition of perch from six lakes across a gradient of DOC concentration. We expected a decrease in the prevalence of PUFAs, which are important for perch growth and divergence with increasing DOC concentrations, due to the restructuring effects of DOC on aquatic food webs. In general, rate of morphological divergence in perch decreased with increasing DOC concentrations. Proportions of specific PUFAs (22:6n-3, 18:3n-3, 20:5n-3, and 20:4n-6) identified to primarily contribute to overall differences between perch caught in clear and brown-water lakes tended to be connected to overall decline of morphological divergence. However, no overall significant relationship was found, indicating no severe limitation of essential fatty acids for perch inhabiting brown water lakes. We further broaden our approach by conducting a laboratory experiment on foraging efficiency of perch. Therefore, we induced pelagic and littoral phenotypes by differences in habitat-structure and feeding mode and recorded attack rate in a feeding experiment. Generally, fish were less efficient in foraging on littoral prey (Ephemeroptera) when visual conditions were degraded by brown water color. We concluded that browning water may have a strong effect on the forager's ability to find particular food resources, resulting in the reduced development of evolutionary traits, such as habitat- specific morphological divergence.
Project description:Climate change is expected to profoundly affect the Great Lakes region of North America. An increase in intensity and frequency of rain events is anticipated to deliver more runoff and to increase riverine inputs to Lake Superior's ecosystem. The effects of these changes on key biogeochemical parameters were analyzed by coupling satellite data, water column sensor profiles, and discrete surface-water sampling after two "500-year" flood events in the Lake Superior basin. This study provides both a spatial and a temporal sense of how plumes interacted within the ecosystem. We also determined the significant differences in water quality parameters for plume versus non-plume waters. These two plumes were important for delivery of nutrients, with variable transport of sediments and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Data from the 2012 storm event showed a significant input of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP) and CDOM to the system. In the 2016 storm event, carbon cycling parameters (acidity, total inorganic carbon (TIC), and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and ammonia levels were elevated within the plume. In neither storm event was there a significant difference in chlorophyll a between plume and non-plume waters during our sampling cruises. These two plume events were similar in amount of precipitation, but their effect on the biogeochemistry of Lake Superior varied due to differences in the watersheds where the rain fell. The studied plume events were dynamic, changing with currents, winds and the settling of suspended sediments.
Project description:The pool of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), is one of the main regulators of the ecology and biogeochemistry of inland water ecosystems, and an important loss term in the carbon budgets of land ecosystems. We used a novel machine learning technique and global databases to test if and how different environmental factors contribute to the variability of in situ DOC concentrations in lakes. In order to estimate DOC in lakes globally we predicted DOC in each lake with a surface area larger than 0.1?km2. Catchment properties and meteorological and hydrological features explained most of the variability of the lake DOC concentration, whereas lake morphometry played only a marginal role. The predicted average of the global DOC concentration in lake water was 3.88?mg?L-1. The global predicted pool of DOC in lake water was 729 Tg from which 421 Tg was the share of the Caspian Sea. The results provide global-scale evidence for ecological, climate and carbon cycle models of lake ecosystems and related future prognoses.
Project description:Increased concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), often labelled "browning", is a current trend in northern, particularly boreal, freshwaters. The browning has been attributed to the recent reduction in sulphate (S) deposition during the last 2 to 3 decades. Over the last century, climate and land use change have also caused an increasing trend in vegetation cover ("greening"), and this terrestrially fixed carbon represents another potential source for export of organic carbon to lakes and rivers. The impact of this greening on the observed browning of lakes and rivers on decadal time scales remains poorly investigated, however. Here, we explore time-series both on water chemistry and catchment vegetation cover (using NDVI as proxy) from 70 Norwegian lakes and catchments over a 30-year period. We show that the increase in terrestrial vegetation as well as temperature and runoff significantly adds to the reduced SO4-deposition as a driver of freshwater DOC concentration. Over extended periods (centuries), climate mediated changes in vegetation cover may cause major browning of northern surface waters, with severe impact on ecosystem productivity and functioning.
Project description:Algal blooms occur frequently in lakes and oceans and the causes and consequences of those are often studied. In this study, we focus on a less well known type of algal bloom by the freshwater raphidophyte Gonyostomum semen. This species' abundance and occurrence is increasing, especially in brown water lakes, the most abundant lake type in the boreal zone. The aim of the study was to investigate which environmental factors are associated with G. semen by statistical evaluation of field data of 95 Swedish lakes over five years. Although we found G. semen to be associated with dark waters it was, contrary to our expectations, mainly high concentrations of iron, and only to a lesser extent high TOC (total organic carbon) concentrations, that were associated with blooms of G. semen. In addition, high phosphorus concentrations and low pH also appear to facilitate G. semen blooms. We suggest that browning of lakes caused by increased iron concentrations may decrease net heterotrophy by fostering heavy algal blooms, i.e. the opposite to commonly assumed effects of increased DOM (dissolved organic matter).