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  1. Abstract

    To date, most research on cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater lakes has focused on the pelagic life stage. However, examining the complete cyanobacterial life cycle—including benthic life stages—may be needed to accurately predict future bloom dynamics. The current expectation, derived from the pelagic life stage, is that blooms will continue to increase due to the warmer temperatures and stronger stratification associated with climate change. However, stratification and mixing have contrasting effects on different life stages: while pelagic cyanobacteria benefit from strong stratification and are adversely affected by mixing, benthic stages can benefit from increased mixing. The net effects of these potentially counteracting processes are not yet known, since most aquatic ecosystem models do not incorporate benthic stages and few empirical studies have tracked the complete life cycle over multiple years. Moreover, for many regions, climate models project both stronger stratification and increased storm-induced mixing in the coming decades; the net effects of those physical processes, even on the pelagic life stage, are not yet understood. We therefore recommend an integrated research agenda to study the dual effects of stratification and mixing on the complete cyanobacterial life cycle—both benthic and pelagic stages—using models, field observations and experiments.

  2. 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
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 2, 2023
  5. Siciliano, B. ; Laschi, C. ; Khatib, O. (Ed.)
  6. Abstract. The concentration of oxygen is fundamental to lake water quality and ecosystem functioning through its control over habitat availability for organisms, redox reactions, and recycling of organic material. In many eutrophic lakes, oxygen depletion in the bottom layer (hypolimnion) occurs annually during summer stratification. The temporal and spatial extent of summer hypolimnetic anoxia is determined by interactions between the lake and its external drivers (e.g., catchment characteristics, nutrient loads, meteorology) as well as internal feedback mechanisms (e.g., organic matter recycling, phytoplankton blooms). How these drivers interact to control the evolution of lake anoxia over decadal timescales will determine, in part, the future lake water quality. In this study, we used a vertical one-dimensional hydrodynamic–ecological model (GLM-AED2) coupled with a calibrated hydrological catchment model (PIHM-Lake) to simulate the thermal and water quality dynamics of the eutrophic Lake Mendota (USA) over a 37 year period. The calibration and validation of the lake model consisted of a global sensitivity evaluation as well as the application of an optimization algorithm to improve the fit between observed and simulated data. We calculated stability indices (Schmidt stability, Birgean work, stored internal heat), identified spring mixing and summer stratification periods, and quantified the energy required for stratification and mixing.more »To qualify which external and internal factors were most important in driving the interannual variation in summer anoxia, we applied a random-forest classifier and multiple linear regressions to modeled ecosystem variables (e.g., stratification onset and offset, ice duration, gross primary production). Lake Mendota exhibited prolonged hypolimnetic anoxia each summer, lasting between 50–60 d. The summer heat budget, the timing of thermal stratification, and the gross primary production in the epilimnion prior to summer stratification were the most important predictors of the spatial and temporal extent of summer anoxia periods in Lake Mendota. Interannual variability in anoxia was largely driven by physical factors: earlier onset of thermal stratification in combination with a higher vertical stability strongly affected the duration and spatial extent of summer anoxia. A measured step change upward in summer anoxia in 2010 was unexplained by the GLM-AED2 model. Although the cause remains unknown, possible factors include invasion by the predacious zooplankton Bythotrephes longimanus. As the heat budget depended primarily on external meteorological conditions, the spatial and temporal extent of summer anoxia in Lake Mendota is likely to increase in the near future as a result of projected climate change in the region.« less