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The formation, persistence, and consequences of pelagic oxyclines in lakes

  • Pelagic oxyclines, the transition zone between oxygen rich surface waters and oxygen depleted deep waters, are a common characteristic of eutrophic lakes during summer stratification. They can have tremendous effects on the biodiversity and the ecosystem functioning of lakes and, to add insult to injury, are expected to become more frequent and more pronounced as climate warming progresses. On these grounds, this thesis endeavors to advance the understanding of formation, persistence, and consequences of pelagic oxyclines: We test, whether the formation of metalimnetic oxygen minima is intrinsically tied to a locally enhanced oxygen consuming process, investigate the relative importance of vertical physical oxygen transport and biochemical oxygen consumption for the persistence of pelagic oxyclines, and finally assess their potential consequences for whole lake cycling. To pursue these objectives, the present thesis nearly exclusively resorts to in situ measurements. Field campaigns were conducted at three lakes in Germany featuring different types of oxyclines and resolved either a short (hours to days) or a long (weeks to months) time scale. Measurements comprised temperature, current velocity, and concentrations of oxygen and reduced substances in high temporal and vertical resolution. Additionally, vertical transport was estimated by applying the eddy correlation technique within the pelagic region for the first time. The thesis revealed, that the formation of metalimnetic oxygen minima does not necessarily depend on locally enhanced oxygen depletion, but can solely result from gradients and curvatures of oxygen concentration and depletion and their relative position to each other. Physical oxygen transport was found to be relevant for oxycline persistence when it considerably postponed anoxia on a long time scale. However, its influence on oxygen dynamics was minor on short time scales, although mixing and transport were highly variable. Biochemical consumption always dominated the fate of oxygen in pelagic oxyclines. It was primarily determined by the oxidative breakdown of organic matter originating from the epilimnion, whereas in meromictic lakes, the oxidation of reduced substances dominated. Beyond that, the results of the thesis emphasize that pelagic oxyclines can be a hotspot of mineralization and, hence, short-circuit carbon and nutrient cycling in the upper part of the water column. Overall, the present thesis highlights the importance of considering physical transport as well as biochemical cycling in future studies.

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Metadaten
Author:Julika Weck
URN:urn:nbn:de:kola-14319
Referee:Andreas Lorke, Matthias Koschorreck, Daniel F. McGinnis
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language:English
Date of completion:2017/02/22
Date of publication:2017/02/23
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2017/02/10
Release Date:2017/02/23
Number of pages:51
Institutes:Fachbereich 7
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 577 Ökologie
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG