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Are seasonal lakes as productive as permanent lakes? A case study from Ireland

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This paper compares, for the first time, nutrient levels and chlorophyll a measured in a set of seasonal lakes with those reported for permanent lakes in the literature. Twenty-two turloughs (karstic seasonal lakes) in western Ireland were sampled monthly from the onset of flooding (October) until they dried out (6 to 9months). The turloughs showed similar levels of nutrients and chlorophyll a to those reported for Irish and international lakes. Chlorophyll a peaked between November and February in the majority of turloughs, sometimes with values higher than those measured in mesotrophic lakes in summer. A significant log-linear regression was found between total phosphorus and chlorophyll a, which suggests P limitation of algal biomass in the majority of the turloughs. The regression characteristics were not significantly different than those described in similar studies of permanent lakes. Patterns in seasonal variation of nutrients are also presented, their underlying causes being discussed in relation to their transport within catchments. Our results show that despite being predominantly winter phenomena, turloughs can be as productive as permanent lakes.

Notre travail compare pour la première fois les concentrations de nutriments et de chlorophyllea dans une série de lacs saisonniers à celles rapportées dans la littérature pour les lacs permanents. Nous avons échantillonné à chaque mois 22 turloughs (lacs karstiques saisonniers) dans l’ouest de l’Irlande jusqu’à leur assèchement (6 à 9 mois). Les turloughs ont des concentrations de nutriments et de chlorophyllea semblables à celles signalées dans les lacs irlandais et les lacs ailleurs dans le monde. La chlorophyllea atteint un pic entre novembre et février dans la majorité des turlougs, dépassant quelquefois les valeurs mesurées dans les lacs mésotrophes en été. Il existe une régression linéaire logarithmique significative entre le phosphore total et la chlorophyllea, ce qui semble indiquer une limitation de la biomasse algale par le P dans la majorité des turloughs. Les caractéristiques de la régression ne sont pas significativement différentes de celles décrites dans des études semblables de lacs permanents. Nous présentons les patrons de variation saisonnière des nutriments et discutons de leurs causes sous-jacentes en relation avec leur transport au sein des bassins versants. Nos résultats montrent que, bien qu’ils soient surtout des phénomènes hivernaux, les turloughs peuvent être aussi productifs que les lacs permanents.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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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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