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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 stimulated 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. 
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  2. Abstract In recent decades, lakes have experienced unprecedented ice loss with widespread ramifications for winter ecological processes. The rapid loss of ice, resurgence of winter biology, and proliferation of remote sensing technologies, presents a unique opportunity to integrate disciplines to further understand the broad spatial and temporal patterns in ice loss and its consequences. Here, we summarize ice phenology records for 78 lakes in 12 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia to permit the inclusion and harmonization of in situ ice phenology observations in future interdisciplinary studies. These ice records represent some of the longest climate observations directly collected by people. We highlight the importance of applying the same definition of ice-on and ice-off within a lake across the time-series, regardless of how the ice is observed, to broaden our understanding of ice loss across vast spatial and temporal scales. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract

    Ponds are often identified by their small size and shallow depths, but the lack of a universal evidence-based definition hampers science and weakens legal protection. Here, we compile existing pond definitions, compare ecosystem metrics (e.g., metabolism, nutrient concentrations, and gas fluxes) among ponds, wetlands, and lakes, and propose an evidence-based pond definition. Compiled definitions often mentioned surface area and depth, but were largely qualitative and variable. Government legislation rarely defined ponds, despite commonly using the term. Ponds, as defined in published studies, varied in origin and hydroperiod and were often distinct from lakes and wetlands in water chemistry. We also compared how ecosystem metrics related to three variables often seen in waterbody definitions: waterbody size, maximum depth, and emergent vegetation cover. Most ecosystem metrics (e.g., water chemistry, gas fluxes, and metabolism) exhibited nonlinear relationships with these variables, with average threshold changes at 3.7 ± 1.8 ha (median: 1.5 ha) in surface area, 5.8 ± 2.5 m (median: 5.2 m) in depth, and 13.4 ± 6.3% (median: 8.2%) emergent vegetation cover. We use this evidence and prior definitions to define ponds as waterbodies that are small (< 5 ha), shallow (< 5 m), with < 30% emergent vegetation and we highlight areas for further study near these boundaries. This definition will inform the science, policy, and management of globally abundant and ecologically significant pond ecosystems.

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  5. Abstract

    Small waterbodies have potentially high greenhouse gas emissions relative to their small footprint on the landscape, although there is high uncertainty in model estimates. Scaling their carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) exchange with the atmosphere remains challenging due to an incomplete understanding and characterization of spatial and temporal variability in CO2and CH4. Here, we measured partial pressures of CO2(pCO2) and CH4(pCH4) across 30 ponds and shallow lakes during summer in temperate regions of Europe and North America. We sampled each waterbody in three locations at three times during the growing season, and tested which physical, chemical, and biological characteristics related to the means and variability ofpCO2andpCH4in space and time. Summer means ofpCO2andpCH4were inversely related to waterbody size and positively related to floating vegetative cover;pCO2was also positively related to dissolved phosphorus. Temporal variability in partial pressure in both gases weas greater than spatial variability. Although sampling on a single date was likely to misestimate mean seasonalpCO2by up to 26%, mean seasonalpCH4could be misestimated by up to 64.5%. Shallower systems displayed the most temporal variability inpCH4and waterbodies with more vegetation cover had lower temporal variability. Inland waters remain one of the most uncertain components of the global carbon budget; understanding spatial and temporal variability will ultimately help us to constrain our estimates and inform research priorities.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Lake surfaces are warming worldwide, raising concerns about lake organism responses to thermal habitat changes. Species may cope with temperature increases by shifting their seasonality or their depth to track suitable thermal habitats, but these responses may be constrained by ecological interactions, life histories or limiting resources. Here we use 32 million temperature measurements from 139 lakes to quantify thermal habitat change (percentage of non-overlap) and assess how this change is exacerbated by potential habitat constraints. Long-term temperature change resulted in an average 6.2% non-overlap between thermal habitats in baseline (1978–1995) and recent (1996–2013) time periods, with non-overlap increasing to 19.4% on average when habitats were restricted by season and depth. Tropical lakes exhibited substantially higher thermal non-overlap compared with lakes at other latitudes. Lakes with high thermal habitat change coincided with those having numerous endemic species, suggesting that conservation actions should consider thermal habitat change to preserve lake biodiversity. 
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