Light quality determines primary production in nutrient-poor small lakes.
ABSTRACT: The availability of nutrients for primary producers has long been thought to be the main limiting factor for primary productivity in nutrient-poor lake ecosystems. However, recent studies have indicated that the availability of light energy is also important. On the other hand, the amount of phototroph was reported to decrease in summer in Antarctic lakes, furthermore, the light environment underwater was shown containing high amount of ultraviolet energy in small Antarctic lakes. Here, we hypothesized that primary productivity is limited by not only nutrients and simple light quantity but also light quality in nutrient-poor lakes. Then, we investigate factors influencing primary production by benthic phototrophic communities in shallow nutrient-poor lakes. We examine the relationships between primary production in 17 Antarctic freshwater lakes and nutrient concentrations in lake and benthic water, temperature and light energy. Primary production is decreased by ultraviolet energy reaching the lake bed, showing that production is determined by light quality. We also correlate ultraviolet energy in lake water with the catchment area of each lake. Our results show that the underwater light environment has an important influence on primary production as a key limitation factor and is sensitive to materials in runoff from the surrounding environment for pristine lakes.
Project description:Viruses are abundant ubiquitous members of microbial communities and in the marine environment affect population structure and nutrient cycling by infecting and lysing primary producers. Antarctic lakes are microbially dominated ecosystems supporting truncated food webs in which viruses exert a major influence on the microbial loop. Here we report the discovery of a virophage (relative of the recently described Sputnik virophage) that preys on phycodnaviruses that infect prasinophytes (phototrophic algae). By performing metaproteogenomic analysis on samples from Organic Lake, a hypersaline meromictic lake in Antarctica, complete virophage and near-complete phycodnavirus genomes were obtained. By introducing the virophage as an additional predator of a predator-prey dynamic model we determined that the virophage stimulates secondary production through the microbial loop by reducing overall mortality of the host and increasing the frequency of blooms during polar summer light periods. Virophages remained abundant in the lake 2 y later and were represented by populations with a high level of major capsid protein sequence variation (25-100% identity). Virophage signatures were also found in neighboring Ace Lake (in abundance) and in two tropical lakes (hypersaline and fresh), an estuary, and an ocean upwelling site. These findings indicate that virophages regulate host-virus interactions, influence overall carbon flux in Organic Lake, and play previously unrecognized roles in diverse aquatic ecosystems.
Project description:The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MCM) of southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, harbor numerous ice-covered bodies of water that provide year-round liquid water oases for isolated food webs dominated by the microbial loop. Single-cell microbial eukaryotes (protists) occupy major trophic positions within this truncated food web, ranging from primary producers (e.g., chlorophytes, haptophytes, and cryptophytes) to tertiary predators (e.g., ciliates, dinoflagellates, and choanoflagellates). To advance the understanding of MCM protist ecology and the roles of MCM protists in nutrient and energy cycling, we investigated potential metabolic strategies and microbial interactions of key MCM protists isolated from a well-described lake (Lake Bonney). Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) of enrichment cultures, combined with single amplified genome/amplicon sequencing and fluorescence microscopy, revealed that MCM protists possess diverse potential metabolic capabilities and interactions. Two metabolically distinct bacterial clades (Flavobacteria and Methylobacteriaceae) were independently associated with two key MCM lake microalgae (Isochrysis and Chlamydomonas, respectively). We also report on the discovery of two heterotrophic nanoflagellates belonging to the Stramenopila supergroup, one of which lives as a parasite of Chlamydomonas, a dominate primary producer in the shallow, nutrient-poor layers of the lake.Single-cell eukaryotes called protists play critical roles in the cycling of organic matter in aquatic environments. In the ice-covered lakes of Antarctica, protists play key roles in the aquatic food web, providing the majority of organic carbon to the rest of the food web (photosynthetic protists) and acting as the major consumers at the top of the food web (predatory protists). In this study, we utilized a combination of techniques (microscopy, cell sorting, and genomic analysis) to describe the trophic abilities of Antarctic lake protists and their potential interactions with other microbes. Our work reveals that Antarctic lake protists rely on metabolic versatility for their energy and nutrient requirements in this unique and isolated environment.
Project description:Nutrient inputs and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) are global factors affecting the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems, particularly clear-water ecosystems. We performed experiments in two model lakes highly exposed to UVR fluxes in order to test the effect that future increases in mineral nutrients transported by dust aerosol might exert on primary producers depending on the likelihood of atmospheric inputs. Lake La Caldera (Northern Hemisphere) has been receiving recurrent dust inputs from the Sahara Desert while lake Los Cántaros (Southern Hemisphere) has been less affected by dust aerosol. UVR?×?Nutrient synergistically stimulated primary production (PP), chlorophyll a (Chl a), with a smaller increase in phytoplanktonic biomass in La Caldera, but not in Los Cántaros, where nutrient addition unmasked the UVR inhibitory effect on phytoplankton. The proportional decrease of mixotrophic nanoflagellates (MNFs) after the nutrient pulse (in Los Cántaros) and the long-term decline of MNFs in La Caldera associated with the increase in aerosol-dust intrusions from the Sahara during the last 40 years suggest that a future scenario of intensified aerosol events from desert and desertified areas would not only reduce functional diversity with the decline of MNFs, but would ultimately alter the C flux towards the grazing chain in oligotrophic ecosystems.
Project description:Phytoplankton productivity in lakes controls the rate of synthesis of organic matter that drives energy flow through the food webs and regulates the transparency and oxygen conditions in the water. Limitation of phytoplankton productivity and biomass by nutrients and light availability is an established paradigm for lake ecosystems, whereas invasion of atmospheric CO2 has been assumed to cover the high demands of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) during intense organic productivity. We challenge this paradigm, and show up to a 5-fold stimulation of phytoplankton productivity and biomass in outdoor mesocosms enriched with DIC, compared to mesocosms with lower DIC concentrations. High DIC supported phytoplankton productivity by direct algal uptake of bicarbonate, through the release of CO2 coupled to calcification and by inducing high pH that greatly enhances atmospheric CO2 invasion. Comparisons of 204 natural Danish lakes supported mesocosm experiments showing higher phytoplankton biomass and pH levels in hard water than soft water lakes for the same nutrient and light availabilities. The most productive lakes are nutrient-rich, hard water lakes that attain surface pHs of 10-11 and chemically enhance atmospheric CO2 uptake 10-15-fold. Our results will help understand natural variations of lake productivity along gradients in nutrients, DIC and pH.
Project description:The McMurdo Dry Valleys constitute the largest ice free area of Antarctica. The area is a polar desert with an annual precipitation of ? 3 cm water equivalent, but contains several lakes fed by glacial melt water streams that flow from four to twelve weeks of the year. Over the past ?20 years, data have been collected on the lakes located in Taylor Valley, Antarctica as part of the McMurdo Dry Valley Long-Term Ecological Research program (MCM-LTER). This work aims to understand the impact of climate variations on the biological processes in all the ecosystem types within Taylor Valley, including the lakes. These lakes are stratified, closed-basin systems and are perennially covered with ice. Each lake contains a variety of planktonic and benthic algae that require nutrients for photosynthesis and growth. The work presented here focuses on Lake Fryxell, one of the three main lakes of Taylor Valley; it is fed by thirteen melt-water streams. We use a functional regression approach to link the physical, chemical, and biological processes within the stream-lake system to evaluate the input of water and nutrients on the biological processes in the lakes. The technique has been shown previously to provide important insights into these Antarctic lacustrine systems where data acquisition is not temporally coherent. We use data on primary production (PPR) and chlorophyll-A (CHL)from Lake Fryxell as well as discharge observations from two streams flowing into the lake. Our findings show an association between both PPR, CHL and stream input.
Project description:The nutrient-water color paradigm is a framework to characterize lake trophic status by relating lake primary productivity to both nutrients and water color, the colored component of dissolved organic carbon. Total phosphorus (TP), a limiting nutrient, and water color, a strong light attenuator, influence lake chlorophyll a concentrations (CHL). But, these relationships have been shown in previous studies to be highly variable, which may be related to differences in lake and catchment geomorphology, the forms of nutrients and carbon entering the system, and lake community composition. Because many of these factors vary across space it is likely that lake nutrient and water color relationships with CHL exhibit spatial autocorrelation, such that lakes near one another have similar relationships compared to lakes further away. Including this spatial dependency in models may improve CHL predictions and clarify how well the nutrient-water color paradigm applies to lakes distributed across diverse landscape settings. However, few studies have explicitly examined spatial heterogeneity in the effects of TP and water color together on lake CHL. In this study, we examined spatial variation in TP and water color relationships with CHL in over 800 north temperate lakes using spatially-varying coefficient models (SVC), a robust statistical method that applies a Bayesian framework to explore space-varying and scale-dependent relationships. We found that TP and water color relationships were spatially autocorrelated and that allowing for these relationships to vary by individual lakes over space improved the model fit and predictive performance as compared to models that did not vary over space. The magnitudes of TP effects on CHL differed across lakes such that a 1 ?g/L increase in TP resulted in increased CHL ranging from 2-24 ?g/L across lake locations. Water color was not related to CHL for the majority of lakes, but there were some locations where water color had a positive effect such that a unit increase in water color resulted in a 2 ?g/L increase in CHL and other locations where it had a negative effect such that a unit increase in water color resulted in a 2 ?g/L decrease in CHL. In addition, the spatial scales that captured variation in TP and water color effects were different for our study lakes. Variation in TP-CHL relationships was observed at intermediate distances (~20 km) compared to variation in water color-CHL relationships that was observed at regional distances (~200 km). These results demonstrate that there are lake-to-lake differences in the effects of TP and water color on lake CHL and that this variation is spatially structured. Quantifying spatial structure in these relationships furthers our understanding of the variability in these relationships at macroscales and would improve model prediction of chlorophyll a to better meet lake management goals.
Project description:Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem degradation is widely recognized as a major global environmental and development problem. Although great efforts have been made to prevent aquatic ecosystem degradation, the degree, extent and impacts of this phenomenon remain controversial and unclear, such as its driving mechanisms. Here, we present results from a 17-year field investigation (1998-2014) of water quality and a 12-year remote sensing mapping (2003-2014) of the aquatic vegetation presence frequency (VPF) in Eastern Lake Taihu, a macrophyte-dominated bay of Lake Taihu in China. In the past 17 years, nutrient concentrations and water level (WL) have significantly increased, but the Secchi disk depth (SDD) has significantly decreased. These changes were associated with increased lake eutrophication and a degraded underwater light climate that further inhibited the growth of aquatic vegetation. In Eastern Lake Taihu, increased nutrients, chlorophyll a and WL, and a decreased SDD were all significantly correlated with a decreased VPF. NH4(+)-N concentration and SDD/WL were the most important controlling factors for VPF. Therefore, increased anthropogenic nutrient inputs and a degraded underwater light climate surely result in a decreased VPF. These results elucidate the driving mechanism of aquatic vegetation degradation and will facilitate Lake Taihu ecological restoration.
Project description:Submersed aquatic plants are a key component of shallow, clear water lakes contributing to primary production and water quality. High mountain lakes are naturally fishless although invasive trout and most recently minnows have been introduced causing a major impact on fauna richness. The Pyrenean high mountain range has preserved soft-water oligotrophic boreal isoetids in their southern limit of distribution but the recent fish introduction is a potential factor of stress that needs to be addressed. We here work under the hypothesis that due to contrasting ecological features, trout will not be heavily affecting quillwort populations while minnows will have a stronger effect on zooplankton and zoobenthos that will promote algal growth and reduce light availability for the underwater meadows. Ten Pyrenean shallow lakes representative of three scenarios -fishless, with trout and with minnows-, were sampled for meadow structure, water column and benthic environment characterization in mid-summer 2015 and 2016. Quillwort biomass allocation (above vs. belowground), epiphytic load, and composition of the algal community (abundant cyanobacteria) differed in the presence of minnows. In trout lakes biomass allocation and epiphytic load were average and the algal community composed by chlorophytes and diatoms as in fishless lakes. Biomass ratio was close to thresholds of negative buoyancy in minnow lakes indicating that meadows were at risk of uprooting and consequent de-vegetation. Total and soluble carbohydrates were lower and the sporangia contained significantly less reserves to constrain growth and expansion in the presence of minnows. Lake scenarios were coupled to physicochemical differences with low light, high phosphorus and Chl-a (mesotrophia) in minnow lakes, while trout and fishless lakes remained oligotrophic. This is the first study assessing the impact of non-native fish on soft-water isoetids from mountain lakes and shows that minnows are a major threat to quillworts. The impaired light environment (from epiphytic algal overgrow and water column Chl-a) entails consequent regression (i.e., no recruitment) and de-vegetation (uprooting) of the meadows. Since soft-water oligotrophic mountain lakes are protected under the Habitats Directive, some action needs to be urgently implemented not only to preserve quillworts but to the overall ecological integrity of the lakes.
Project description:Subglacial lakes are widespread beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet but their control on ice-sheet dynamics and their ability to harbour life remain poorly characterized. Here we present evidence for a palaeo-subglacial lake on the Antarctic continental shelf. A distinct sediment facies recovered from a bedrock basin in Pine Island Bay indicates deposition within a low-energy lake environment. Diffusive-advection modelling demonstrates that low chloride concentrations in the pore water of the corresponding sediments can only be explained by initial deposition of this facies in a freshwater setting. These observations indicate that an active subglacial meltwater network, similar to that observed beneath the extant ice sheet, was also active during the last glacial period. It also provides a new framework for refining the exploration of these unique environments.
Project description:Zooplankton in Antarctic maritime lakes face challenges imposed by anthropogenic chemicals. Studies on temperate species suggest that lipophilic chemicals will accumulate in dormant embryos of Antarctic zooplankton and decrease hatching success, thereby threatening centuries of accumulated genetic diversity that would increase population resilience in the face of climate change. We evaluated the potential for lakes to act as sinks for legacy pollutants in the maritime Antarctic by testing sediments for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) previously identified in soil, flora and fauna of lake catchments. Direct tests of embryo permeability to chemicals are confounded by potential adhesion of chemicals to the embryo surface and limited biomass available. Therefore, in order to assess the potential for lipophilic chemicals to penetrate and passively accumulate in dormant embryos of Antarctic lacustrine zooplankton, we evaluated the effect of anoxia on post-diapause development in the calanoid copepod, Boeckella poppei, and then used chemical anoxia induced by rotenone as a reporter for permeability of these embryos to moderately lipophilic chemicals. The data presented demonstrate that embryos of B. poppei from Antarctic lake sediments will passively accumulate moderately lipophilic chemicals while lying dormant in anoxic sediments. Implications for legacy POPs in sediments of Antarctic maritime lakes are discussed.