skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, July 12 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, July 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Hydrologic Setting Dictates the Sensitivity of Ecosystem Metabolism to Climate Variability in Lakes
Abstract

Global change is influencing production and respiration in ecosystems across the globe. Lakes in particular are changing in response to climatic variability and cultural eutrophication, resulting in changes in ecosystem metabolism. Although the primary drivers of production and respiration such as the availability of nutrients, light, and carbon are well known, heterogeneity in hydrologic setting (for example, hydrological connectivity, morphometry, and residence) across and within regions may lead to highly variable responses to the same drivers of change, complicating our efforts to predict these responses. We explored how differences in hydrologic setting among lakes influenced spatial and inter annual variability in ecosystem metabolism, using high-frequency oxygen sensor data from 11 lakes over 8 years. Trends in mean metabolic rates of lakes generally followed gradients of nutrient and carbon concentrations, which were lowest in seepage lakes, followed by drainage lakes, and higher in bog lakes. We found that while ecosystem respiration (ER) was consistently higher in wet years in all hydrologic settings, gross primary production (GPP) only increased in tandem in drainage lakes. However, interannual rates of ER and GPP were relatively stable in drainage lakes, in contrast to seepage and bog lakes which had coefficients of variation in metabolism between 22–32%. We explored how the geospatial context of lakes, including hydrologic residence time, watershed area to lake area, and landscape position influenced the sensitivity of individual lake responses to climatic variation. We propose a conceptual framework to help steer future investigations of how hydrologic setting mediates the response of metabolism to climatic variability.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1754363 1754561
NSF-PAR ID:
10305735
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecosystems
Volume:
25
Issue:
6
ISSN:
1432-9840
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: p. 1328-1345
Size(s):
p. 1328-1345
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. In lakes, ecosystem structure and processes are influenced by gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (R), and net ecosystem production (NEP). The rates of these metabolic processes are often controlled by resource availability, which often reflects catchment loads. Although the relationship between catchment loads and in-lake nutrient concentrations may be well defined in specific lakes, we explored how watershed vs. in-lake predictors of metabolism compare across lake types. To do this, we combined stream loads of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) with high frequency in situ monitoring of lake metabolism and in-lake C, N, and P concentrations from 16 lakes spanning a range of latitudes (39 to 64 degrees N), inflowing stream (0 - 6 streams), and trophic status (oligotrophic to eutrophic). The data package includes high-frequency dissolved oxygen, water temperature, wind speed, and solar radiation data as well as daily estimates of GPP, R, and NEP derived from those data. In addition, the data package includes in-lake and stream concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus and stream discharge data. The package also includes estimates of daily carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus loading to each lake derived from the stream concentrations and discharge. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Lakes process both terrestrial and aquatic organic matter, and the relative contribution from each source is often measured via ecosystem metabolism and terrestrial resource use in the food web (i.e., consumer allochthony). Yet, ecosystem metabolism and consumer allochthony are rarely considered together, despite possible interactions and potential for them to respond to the same lake characteristics. In this study, we compiled global datasets of lake gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), and zooplankton allochthony to compare the strength and shape of relationships with physicochemical characteristics across a broad set of lakes. GPP was positively related to total phosphorus (TP) in lakes with intermediate TP concentrations (11–75 μg L−1) and was highest in lakes with intermediate dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. While ER and GPP were strongly positively correlated, decoupling occurred at high DOC concentrations. Lastly, allochthony had a unimodal relationship with TP and related variably to DOC. By integrating metabolism and allochthony, we identified similar change points in GPP and zooplankton allochthony at intermediate DOC (4.5–10 mg L−1) and TP (8–20 μg L−1) concentrations, indicating that allochthony and GPP may be coupled and inversely related. The ratio of DOC:nutrients also helped to identify conditions where lake organic matter processing responded more to autochthonous or allochthonous organic matter sources. As lakes globally face eutrophication and browning, predicting how lake organic matter processing will respond requires an updated paradigm that incorporates nonlinear dynamics and interactions.

     
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    Intermittent streams are characterized by significant periods of low to no flow, yet are also frequently subjected to flashy, high floods. Floods alter ecosystem function and result in variable successional patterns across the stream network. Yet, the timing of restored function after floods in intermittent stream networks is relatively unexplored. We measured recovery of stream ecosystem function using rates of gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), net ecosystem production (NEP), and the primary production to respiration ratio (P/R) across eight locations in the Kings Creek drainage basin with differing preflood conditions (previously dry [intermittent] or flowing [perennial]) over a 30‐d period following a 2‐yr return interval flood. We found that all metabolic rates (GPP, ER, NEP, P/R) varied primarily by time (days since flood) and antecedent flow, but not spatial network position (i.e., drainage area). Intermittent sites exhibited high rates of ER (0.17–3.33 g dissolved oxygen [DO] m−2d−1) following rewetting compared to perennial sites (0.03–1.17 g DO m−2d−1), while GPP, NEP, and P/R were slower to recover and varied less between sites of differing preflood conditions. Metabolic rates were not strongly influenced by other environmental conditions. A large proportion of variation was explained by the random effect of location. Our results suggest that metabolism is temporally asynchronous and highly heterogenous across intermittent watersheds and that antecedent hydrology (drying prior to rewetting) stimulates heterotrophic activity, likely dependent on terrestrially derived organic matter and nutrient subsidies.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Drought is common in rivers, yet how this disturbance regulates metabolic activity across network scales is largely unknown. Drought often lowers gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) in small headwaters but by contrast can enhance GPP and cause algal blooms in downstream estuaries. We estimated ecosystem metabolism across a nested network of 13 reaches from headwaters to the main stem of the Connecticut River from 2015 through 2017, which encompassed a pronounced drought. During drought, GPP and ER increased, but with greater enhancement in larger rivers. Responses of GPP and ER were partially due to warmer temperatures associated with drought, particularly in the larger rivers where temperatures during summer drought were > 10°C higher than typical summer baseflow. The larger rivers also had low canopy cover, which allowed primary producers to take advantage of lower turbidity and fewer cloudy days during drought. We conclude that GPP is enhanced by higher temperature, lower turbidity, and longer water residence times that are all a function of low discharge, but ecosystem response in temperate watersheds to these drivers depends on light availability regulated by riparian canopy cover. In larger rivers, GPP increased more than ER during drought, even leading to temporary autotrophy, an otherwise rare event in the typically light‐limited heterotrophic Connecticut River main stem. With climate change, rivers and streams may become warmer and drought frequency and severity may increase. Such changes may increase autotrophy in rivers with broad implications for carbon cycling and water quality in aquatic ecosystems.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The temporal structures of gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) vary across time scales in response to complex interactions among dynamic drivers (e.g., flow, light, temperature, organic matter supply). To explore emergent patterns of river metabolic variation, we applied frequency‐domain analysis to multiyear records of metabolism across 87 US rivers. We observed a dominant annual periodicity in metabolic variation and universal fractal scaling (i.e., power spectral density inversely correlated with frequency) at subannual frequencies, suggesting these are foundational temporal structures of river metabolic regimes. Frequency‐domain patterns of river metabolism aligned best with drivers related to energy inputs: benthic light for GPP and GPP for ER. Simple river metabolism models captured frequency‐domain patterns when parameterized with appropriate energy inputs but neglecting temperature controls. These results imply that temporal variation of energy supply imprints directly on metabolic signals and that frequency‐domain patterns provide benchmark properties to predict river metabolic regimes.

     
    more » « less