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Limnologica. 2010 May;40(2):161-166.

Lake morphometry and wind exposure may shape the plankton community structure in acidic mining lakes.

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  • 1University of Potsdam, Insitute for Biochemistry & Biology, Dept. of Ecology and Ecosystem Modelling, Am Neuen Palais 10, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany.


Acidic mining lakes (pH <3) are specific habitats exhibiting particular chemical and biological characteristics. The species richness is low and mixotrophy and omnivory are common features of the plankton food web in such lakes. The plankton community structure of mining lakes of different morphometry and mixing type but similar chemical characteristics (Lake 130, Germany and Lake Langau, Austria) was investigated. The focus was laid on the species composition, the trophic relationship between the phago-mixotrophic flagellate Ochromonas sp. and bacteria and the formation of a deep chlorophyll maximum along a vertical pH-gradient. The shallow wind-exposed Lake 130 exhibited a higher species richness than Lake Langau. This increase in species richness was made up mainly by mero-planktic species, suggesting a strong benthic/littoral - pelagic coupling. Based on the field data from both lakes, a nonlinear, negative relation between bacteria and Ochromonas biomass was found, suggesting that at an Ochromonas biomass below 50 μg C L(-1), the grazing pressure on bacteria is low and with increasing Ochromonas biomass bacteria decline. Furthermore, in Lake Langau, a prominent deep chlorophyll maximum was found with chlorophyll concentrations ca. 50 times higher than in the epilimnion which was build up by the euglenophyte Lepocinclis sp. We conclude that lake morphometry, and specific abiotic characteristics such as mixing behaviour influence the community structure in these mining lakes.

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