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Spatial and temporal variability in water temperatures in the littoral zone of a multibasin lake

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Current models of the offshore thermal structure in lakes suggest that the thermal regime inshore should vary seasonally, and should vary systematically from upwind to downwind littoral sites. To test these hypotheses, we measured mean temperature and short-term (<2 days) temporal variability in water temperature at 23 shallow littoral sites in four basins of Lake Opeongo, Ontario, Canada. Water temperature in the littoral zone was most variable, both spatially and temporally, in the spring. Spring water temperature differed by as much as 7–15°C among littoral sites in different basins (median difference among sites = 2–4°C). Downwind sites were generally warmer and had more constant temperature than upwind sites, but the magnitude of these differences varied among basins of different sizes and shapes. Simple calculations of growth rates and of fish hatching times suggest that the observed variability in water temperature would result in differences in the productivity of different portions of the littoral zone.

Les modèles actuels qui expliquent la structure thermique des eaux au centre des lacs laissent croire que le régime thermique près des berges doit varier d'une saison à l'autre et qu'il doit se modifier de façon systématique depuis les sites littoraux au vent jusqu'aux sites sous le vent. Pour éprouver ces hypothèses, nous avons mesuré la température moyenne et la variabilité temporelle à court terme (<2 jours) de la température de l'eau à 23 sites littoraux peu profonds dans 4 bassins du lac Opeongo, Ontario, Canada. La température de l'eau du littoral est le plus variable au printemps, tant dans l'espace que dans le temps. Nous avons observé des différences de température d'un site à l'autre allant jusqu'à 7–15°C selon les bassins (l'écart médian entre les sites = 2–4°C). Les sites sous le vent sont généralement plus chauds et ont des températures plus constantes que les sites au vent, bien que l'importance de ces écarts varie dans les bassins de tailles et de formes différentes. Des calculs simples des taux de croissance des poissons et des temps d'éclosion de leurs oeufs laissent présumer que la variabilité observée dans la température peut générer des différences de productivité dans les diverses sections de la zone littorale.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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