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  1. Abstract Lake ecosystems, as integrators of watershed and climate stressors, are sentinels of change. However, there is an inherent time-lag between stressors and whole-lake response. Aquatic metabolism, including gross primary production (GPP) and respiration (R), of stream–lake transitional zones may bridge the time-lag of lake response to allochthonous inputs. In this study, we used high-frequency dissolved oxygen data and inverse modeling to estimate daily rates of summer epilimnetic GPP and R in a nutrient-limited oligotrophic lake at two littoral sites located near different major inflows and at a pelagic site. We examined the relative importance of stream variables in comparison to meteorological and in-lake predictors of GPP and R. One of the inflow streams was substantially warmer than the other and primarily entered the lake’s epilimnion, whereas the colder stream primarily mixed into the metalimnion or hypolimnion. Maximum GPP and R rates were 0.2–2.5 mg O 2 L −1  day −1 (9–670%) higher at littoral sites than the pelagic site. Ensemble machine learning analyses revealed that > 30% of variability in daily littoral zone GPP and R was attributable to stream depth and stream–lake transitional zone mixing metrics. The warm-stream inflow likely stimulated littoral GPP and R, while the cold-stream inflow only stimulatedmore »littoral zone GPP and R when mixing with the epilimnion. The higher GPP and R observed near inflows in our study may provide a sentinel-of-the-sentinel signal, bridging the time-lag between stream inputs and in-lake processing, enabling an earlier indication of whole-lake response to upstream stressors.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
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  3. Abstract. Outgassing of carbon dioxide (CO2) from freshwater ecosystems comprises 12 %–25 % of the total carbon flux from soils and bedrock. This CO2 is largely derived from both biodegradation and photodegradation of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (DOC) entering lakes from wetlands and soils in the watersheds of lakes. In spite of the significance of these two processes in regulating rates of CO2 outgassing, their relative importance remains poorly understood in lake ecosystems. In this study, we used groundwater from the watersheds of one subtropical and three temperate lakes of differing trophic status to simulate the effects of increases in terrestrial DOC from storm events. We assessed the relative importance of biodegradation and photodegradation in oxidizing DOC to CO2. We measured changes in DOC concentration, colored dissolved organic carbon (specificultraviolet absorbance – SUVA320; spectral slope ratio – Sr), dissolved oxygen, and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in short-term experiments from May–August 2016. In all lakes, photodegradationled to larger changes in DOC and DIC concentrations and opticalcharacteristics than biodegradation. A descriptive discriminant analysisshowed that, in brown-water lakes, photodegradation led to the largestdeclines in DOC concentration. In these brown-water systems, ∼ 30 % of the DOC was processed by sunlight, and a minimum of 1 % was photomineralized. Inmore »addition to documenting the importance of photodegradation in lakes, these results also highlight how lakes in the future may respond to changes in DOC inputs.« less