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An empirical study of nitrogen dynamics in lakes

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Abstract:

The parameters determining the annual balances of nitrogen (N) and the concentrations of total N in lakes were analyzed. This was carried out by the use of multiple regression analyses on data from a number of northern temperate lakes with a hydraulic detention time of 0.25 yr or more. The result indicated that the removal of N in a lake, which in most cases is dominated by denitrification, seems to be controlled by organic matter. If no major N fixation is taking place, the concentration of total N in the epilimnion during summer is proportional to the load of N and inversely proportional to the concentration of total P or chlorophyll a. For some lakes N fixation is taking place. The increase in total N due to N fixation was found to be proportional to the concentration of total P reduced by a fraction of the estimated N concentration without any fixation. For most lakes, the effect of N fixation is to balance the N content with the P content, which means that the algal biomass is limited by the P content. A ratio of the total concentrations N/P less than approximately 10 indicates a rate of denitrification exceeding the capacity of N fixation. N is not balanced with P, and the algae is controlled by N.

Keywords: ALGAE; CHLQROPHYLL; DENITRIFICATION; LAKES; MODEL; NITROGEN; PHOSPHORUS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143096X127208

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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