The relative importance of the planktonic food web in the carbon cycle of an oligotrophic mountain lake in a poorly vegetated catchment (Redó, Pyrenees)
AbstractThe biological activity of the planktonic community of lake Redó, expressed in terms of carbon fluxes, was measured and compared to the changes in DIC, DOC and POC in the water column. Planktonic photosynthesis ranged between c. 0.01 - 0.3 μg C m-2 h-1. Release of EOC phytoplankton was highly variable, between 5 and 80% of total fixation. Bacterial uptake of EOC ranged between 1-20% of total fixation. Bacterial activities were, in absolute numbers, very low: 0.005±0.003 μg C m-2 h-1, in contrast with the higher grazing rates on bacteria of 0.036±0.021 μg C m-2 h-1. Respiration and diffusion of CO2 to the atmosphere seem to be the main processes controlling DIC concentration. DOC and POC concentrations were highly correlated, and their fluxes presented large fluctuations. These changes in DOC are larger than those due to the processes we have measured. Other processes that might affect DOC include diffusion from sediments, inputs from the catchment, uptake by mixotrophic algae and zooplankton, bacterial respiration, UV photoxidation, and flocculation. Lake Redó seems to act in general terms as an heterotrophic system: respiration is higher than photosynthesis, and the budget is balanced by the import of DOC and, to a lesser extent, POC. Most of the carbon seems to be ultimately released to atmosphere, since little is accumulated in sediments. The estimates of diffusive fluxes agreed with this hypothesis. At this stage, the comparison of biogeochemical budgets with biological activity measurements only serves as a rough approximation of the main pathways in the C cycling in the lake, and to point the issues that need further research in order to calculate the C budget in the lake with accuracy.
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