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  1. Abstract

    Processes regulating the rate of oxygen depletion determine whether hypoxia occurs and the extent to which greenhouse gases accumulate in seasonally ice‐covered lakes. Here, we investigate the oxygen budget of four arctic lakes using high‐frequency data during two winters in three shallow lakes (9–13 m maximal depth) and four winters in 24 m deep main basin of Toolik Lake. Incubation experiments measured sediment metabolism. Volume‐averaged oxygen depletion measured in situ was independent of water temperature and duration of the ice‐covered period. Average rates were between 0.2 and 0.39 g O2 m−2 d−1in the shallow lakes and between 0.03 and 0.14 g O2 m−2 d−1in Toolik Lake, with higher rates in smaller lakes with their larger sediment area to volume ratio. Rates decreased to ~ 20%–50% of initial values in late winter in the shallow lakes but less or not at all in Toolik. The lack of a decline in Toolik Lake points to continued oxygen transport to the sediment–water interface where oxygen consumption occurs. In all lakes, lower in situ oxygen depletion than in incubation measurements points toward increasing anoxia in the lower water column depressing loss rates. In Toolik, oxygen loss during early winter was less in years with minimal snow cover. Penetrative convection occurred, which could mix downwards oxygen produced by photosynthesis or excluded during ice formation. Estimates of these terms exceeded photosynthesis measured in sediment incubations. Modeling under ice‐oxygen dynamics requires consideration of optical properties and biological and transport processes that modify oxygen concentrations and distributions.

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  2. Abstract

    Wildfire smoke often covers areas larger than the burned area, yet the impacts of smoke on nearby aquatic ecosystems are understudied. In the summer of 2018, wildfire smoke covered Castle Lake (California, USA) for 55 days. We quantified the influence of smoke on the lake by comparing the physics, chemistry, productivity, and animal ecology in the prior four years (2014–2017) to the smoke year (2018). Smoke reduced incident ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation by 31% and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) by 11%. Similarly, underwater UV-B and PAR decreased by 65 and 44%, respectively, and lake heat content decreased by 7%. While the nutrient limitation of primary production did not change, shallow production in the offshore habitat increased by 109%, likely due to a release from photoinhibition. In contrast, deep-water, primary production decreased and the deep-water peak in chlorophylladid not develop, likely due to reduced PAR. Despite the structural changes in primary production, light, and temperature, we observed little significant change in zooplankton biomass, community composition, or migration pattern. Trout were absent from the littoral-benthic habitat during the smoke period. The duration and intensity of smoke influences light regimes, heat content, and productivity, with differing responses to consumers.

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  3. 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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  4. Abstract

    Warming winters will reduce ice cover and change under‐ice conditions in temperate mountain lakes, where snow contributes most of winter cover on lakes. Snow‐dominated mountain lakes are abundant and highly susceptible to climate warming, yet we lack an understanding of how climate variation and local attributes influence winter processes. We investigated climatic and intrinsic controls on ice phenology, water temperature, and bottom‐water dissolved oxygen (DO) in 15 morphologically diverse lakes in the Sierra Nevada and Klamath Mountains of California, USA, using high‐frequency measurements from multiple (2–5) winters. We found that ice phenology was determined by winter climate variables (snowfall and air temperature) that influence ice‐off timing, whereas ice‐on timing was relatively invariant among years. Lake size and morphology mediated the effect of climate on lake temperature and DO dynamics in early and late winter. Rates of hypolimnetic DO decline were highest in small, shallow lakes, and were unrelated to water temperature. Temperature and oxygen dynamics were more variable in small lakes because heavy snowfall caused ice submergence, mixing, and DO replenishment that affected the entire water column. As the persistence of snow declines in temperate mountain regions, autumn, and spring climatic conditions are expected to gain importance in regulating lake ice phenology. Water temperature and DO will likely increase in most lakes during winter as snowpack declines, but morphological attributes such as lake size will determine the sensitivity of ice phenology and under‐ice processes to climate change.

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  5. 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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  6. null (Ed.)