Theory predicts and recent study revealed that depth of the thermocline can strongly influence the nutrient availability and composition of plankton communities. We are focused on the effect of metalimnetic gradients on water chemistry and plankton communities in three stratified lakes with different trophic conditions. Vertical changes in water chemistry revealed significant increase of macroelement concentrations in the metalimnion of all studied lakes. However, there was no significant increase of nutrient concentrations in the thermocline of lakes with smoother metalimnetic gradient, whereas sharp and deep thermocline zone caused higher concentration of orthophosphates and dissolved inorganic nitrogen in the metalimnion. The maximum concentrations of phytoplankton were observed just below the thermocline and were caused mostly by the abundance of diatoms and cryptophytes. Vertical distribution of the crustacean zooplankton was similar to the distribution of phytoplankton. Especially, Daphnia cucullata was strongly related with the phytoplankton distribution and reached maximum densities in deep layers with high chlorophyll concentrations, and, conversely, smaller crustacean species and rotifers were not affected by the vertical distribution of phytoplankton.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 2017
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