Kettle holes are often abundant within agriculturally used moraine landscapes. They are highly enriched with nutrients and considered hotspots of carbon turnover. However, data on their primary productivity remain rare. We analysed two kettle holes typical to Germany with common aquatic plant communities during one year. We hypothesised that gross primary production (GPP) rates would be high compared to other temperate freshwater ecosystems, leading to high sediment deposition. Summer GPP rates (4.5–5.1 g C m−2 day−1) were higher than those of most temperate freshwater systems, but GPP rates were reduced by 90% in winter. Macrophytes dominated GPP from May to September with emergent macrophytes accounting for half of the GPP. Periphyton contributed to most of the system GPP throughout the rest of the year. Sediment deposition rates were high and correlated with GPP in one kettle hole. In contrast, due to prolonged periods of anoxia, aerobic sediment mineralisation was low while sediment phosphorus release was significant. Our results suggest that kettle holes have a high potential for carbon burial, provided they do not fully dry up during warm years. Due to their unique features, they should not be automatically grouped with ponds and shallow lakes in global carbon budget estimates.
Hydrobiologia – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 4, 2017
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