Infoscience

Journal article

Factors affecting the development and dynamics of hypoxia in a large shallow stratified lake: Hourly to seasonal patterns

[1] The examination of hypoxia in the hypolimnion of large lakes traditionally focuses on the assessment of its spatial and temporal extent and its effect on water quality. In Lake Erie, hypoxia typically occurs between July and October in the central basin; however, there is considerable interannual variability both spatially and temporally. The processes driving this interannual variability as well as the small-scale time variation in oxygen depletion (e.g., −0.7 to +0.3 mg L−1 d−1) were examined in a field study conducted in the western part of the central basin of Lake Erie in 2008 and 2009. Data were obtained from a spatial array of moorings as well as sampling cruises that examined the physical and biological conditions needed to investigate the dynamics of the oxygen depletion and create a vertical oxygen budget. The flux of oxygen through the thermocline to the hypolimnion was a significant source of oxygen equivalent to ∼18% of the total oxygen depletion in the hypolimnion over the stratified period. The total oxygen depletion in the hypolimnion was due to equivalent amounts of hypolimnetic oxygen demand due to respiration in the water column and flux of oxygen to the bottom due to sediment oxygen demand. This latter finding was strongly dependent on hypolimnion thickness in Lake Erie, which also appeared to be an important parameter driving the rate of oxygen depletion by controlling the vertical volumetric fluxes and hence the competition between vertical flux and community respiration in the hypolimnion of shallow lakes.

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