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Landscape variables influencing nutrients and phytoplankton communities in Boreal Plain lakes of northern Alberta: a comparison of wetland- and upland-dominated catchments

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Abstract:

A review of headwater lakes in undisturbed watersheds on the Boreal Plain, with indirect gradient analyses of chemical data, indicated a clear separation between those in wetland-dominated watersheds (57–100% wetland with variable proportions of bog, fen, swamp, and marsh cover) and those in upland-dominated watersheds (0–44% wetland cover). In the former, percentage wetland cover in the watershed was positively correlated with total phosphorus (TP, r2 = 0.78, primarily bog), total nitrogen (TN, r2 = 0.50), and dissolved organic carbon (doc, r2 = 0.74) concentrations. Rich fens appeared to sequester both TP and TN. In upland-dominated lakes, the ratio of catchment area to lake volume (CA/LV) was the strongest watershed correlate of TP concentration (r2 = 0.56), whereas most limnetic nitrogen and doc were generated in situ. Colour concentration, being highest in wetland lakes, was correlated with the ratio of isotopically defined effective drainage basin area to lake volume (eDBA/LV, r2 = 0.63). Drainage basin slope was only weakly associated with water quality, likely because of low topographic relief (11%). Higher Chlorophyta and Peridineae biomasses in wetland-dominated systems than in upland-dominated ones may coincide with greater NH4+ availability.

Une analyse indirecte de gradient des données chimiques provenant de lacs situés en amont de bassins hydrographiques non perturbés de la Plaine boréale indique une nette séparation entre les lacs provenant de bassins dominés par les terres humides (57–100% de terres humides, avec des proportions variables de couverture de tourbières ombrotrophes, de tourbières minéralotrophes, de marécages et de marais) et ceux des bassins dominés par des terres hautes (0–44% de terres humides). Chez les premiers, le pourcentage de couverture par les terres humides dans le bassin est en corrélation positive avec les concentrations de phosphore total (TP, r2 = 0,78, surtout des tourbières ombrotrophes), d'azote total (TN, r2 = 0,50) et de carbone organique dissous (doc, r2 = 0,74). Les tourbières minéralotrophes productives semblent accaparer le TP et le TN. Dans les lacs provenant de bassins dominés par les terres hautes, le rapport de la surface du bassin hydrographique sur le volume du lac (CA/LV) est la variable qui montre la plus forte corrélation avec la concentration de TP (r2 = 0,56); la majorité de l'azote et du doc limnétiques y sont générés in situ. La couleur, qui est à son maximum dans les lacs des bassins dominés par les terres humides, est en corrélation avec le rapport de la surface effective du bassin de drainage (mesurée à l'aide d'isotopes) et le volume du lac (eDBA/LV, r2 = 0,63). La pente du bassin versant n'est que peu associée à la qualité de l'eau, probablement parce que le relief topographique est faible (11%). Les biomasses plus élevées des chrorophytes et des péridiniens dans les lacs dont le bassin est dominé par les terres humides sont sans doute associées à une disponibilité plus grande du NH4+.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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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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