The Importance of Lake Morphometry for the Structureand Function of Lakes

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Abstract

This work demonstrates quantitatively and in a comprehensive way that the size and form of lakes regulate many general transport processes, such as sedimentation, resuspension, diffusion, mixing, burial and outflow, which in turn regulate many abiotic state variables, such as concentrations of phosphorus, suspended particulate matter, many water chemical variables and water clarity, which in turn regulate primary production, which regulate secondary production, for example of zooplankton and fish. Such relationships are discussed not qualitatively but quantitatively using a new generation of validated dynamic ecosystem models (LakeWeb and LakeMab) based on mechanistic principles. It has been shown by critical model tests (including blind tests using data covering wide limnological ranges) that these models give predictions that agree well with empirical data. This should lend credibility to the results presented in this work, which would have been very difficult to obtain using traditional methods with extensive field studies in a few lakes. Simulations have been carried out where the inflow of phosphorus is held constant and the consequences simulated for small, large, shallow and deep lakes. There are striking differences in total phosphorus (TP) concentrations and trophic state (from 10 to 100 µg TP/l) and hence also in changes in many variables characterizing lake structure and function, such as Secchi depth, suspended particulate matter, pH, water temperature, chlorophyll, algal volume, macrophyte cover; as well as production and biomasses of benthic algae, bacterioplankton, macrophytes, herbivorous zooplankton, predatory zooplankton, zoobenthos, prey fish and predatory fish. These changes have been quantified in a comprehensive manner in this work and the approach to calculate such changes are basic for an understanding of how different lakes react to changes in nutrient loading (eutrophication). (© 2005 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)

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