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Erik Jeppesen

Interactions between sediment and water in a shallow and hypertrophic lake: a study on phytoplankton collapses in Lake Søbygård, Denmark

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  • Martin Søndergaard
  • ,
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Peter Kristensen
  • ,
  • Ole Sortkjær
  • National Environmental Research Institute

Short-term changes in phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass have occurred 1-3 times every summer for the past 5 years in the shallow and hypertrophic Lake Søbygård, Denmark. These changes markedly affected lake water characteristics as well as the sediment/water interaction. Thus during a collapse of the phytoplankton biomass in 1985, lasting for about 2 weeks, the lake water became almost anoxic, followed by rapid increase in nitrogen and phosphorus at rates of 100-400 mg N M-2 day-1 and 100-200 mg P m-1 day-1. Average external loading during this period was about 350 mg N m-2 day-1 and 5 mg P m-2 day-1, respectively. Due to high phytoplankton biomass and subsequently a high sedimentation and recycling of nutrients, gross release rates of phosphorus and nitrogen were several times higher than net release rates. The net summer sediment release of phosphorus was usually about 40 mg P m-2 day-1, corresponding to a 2-3 fold increase in the net phosphorus release during the collapse. The nitrogen and phosphorus increase during the collapse is considered to be due primarily to a decreased sedimentation because of low algal biomass. The nutrient interactions between sediment and lake water during phytoplankton collapse, therefore, were changed from being dominated by both a large input and a large sedimentation of nutrients to a dominance of only a large input. Nitrogen was derived from both the inlet and sediment, whereas phosphorus was preferentially derived from the sediment. Different temperature levels may be a main reason for the different release rates from year to year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1990

    Research areas

  • hypertrophic, nitrogen, phosphorus, phytoplankton collapses, sedimentation

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