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LakeEcosystems
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NelsonGHairston,CornellUniversity,Ithaca,NewYork,USA
GregorFFussmann,McGillUniversity,Montreal,Canada Contacttheeditoraboutthisarticle
Publishedonline:May2014
Howtocite
DOI:10.1002/9780470015902.a0003191.pub2

FullArticleonWileyOnlineLibrary

Abstract References

Abstract
Lakesarebodiesofnonmarinestandingwaterconnectedbywaterflowandaerialinputstotheirsurrounding
landscapes(watersheds).Asrelativelydiscreteecosystems,theinterplaybetweenphysical,biogeochemicaland
organismalprocessesinthemisespeciallyclear,andcanbestudied,understoodandputtouseineffective
management.Sunlightpenetratingfromthelakesurfaceprovidesenergythatwarmsthesurfacewater,energyfor
photosynthesisandanenvironmentsuitableforpredatorsthathuntbysight.Thedepthtowhichlightpenetratesis
determinedbytheamountofsuspendedparticles(phytoplankton,organicandinorganicsediments)andcoloured
organicchemicalcompoundsdissolvedinthewater.Importantchemicalsenteringfromthewatershedinclude
essentialnutrients(chieflyphosphorusandnitrogen)andpollutantsthataretakenupandpassedthroughthe
foodchainfromprimaryproducers(phytoplanktonandrootedplants)toconsumers(animalsthateatplantsand
otheranimals).Allorganismsinlakeshaveadaptationsthataffectthestrengthsoftheirinteractionswiththeir
physicalandbiogeochemicalenvironmentsandwithotherspeciesinthefoodweb.Introducedspecies,
pollutants,andotherchangesintheenvironmentresultinrapidevolutionoftheadaptationsthatdetermine
interactionstrengths.Theseprocessesareparticularlyobviousindiscretelakeecosystems.

KeyConcepts:

Lakesarerelativelydiscreteecosystemstheinterplaybetweenphysical,biogeochemicalandorganismal
processesinthemcanbeeasilystudied.

LakestakeupasmallproportionoftheEarth'ssurfacebuttheirecologicalimportanceisdisproportionately
high.

Lakeecosystemsareinfluencedbytheirwatershedsalakeanditswatershedareoftenconsideredtobea
singleecosystem.

Thermalstratificationinlakesgeneratesverticalstructureandcompartmentswithdifferentphysical,chemical
andbiologicalproperties.

Theshallowwaterlittoralandtheopenwaterpelagicarethetwomajorhorizontalzonesinlakeseachzone
hasitscharacteristicfoodchainbasedonmacrophytesandbenthicalgaeorphytoplankton.

Carbon,nitrogenandphosphorusarethemajornutrientsaffectinglakesandtheirwatershedsaspartoftheir
biogeochemicalcycles.Productionislimitedbyphosphorusinmost,butnotall,lakes.

Thelakesedimentplaysanimportantroleashabitatforrootedplantsandanimals,asnutrientstorage
(particularlyphosphorus),andasarepositoryofdecayedmaterialanddormantstagesoflakeorganisms.

Bothbottomupandtopdownprocessesdeterminethetrophicstructureanddynamicsinlakefoodchainsand
webs.

Lakeecosystemsareshapedbybothecologicalandevolutionaryprocessesthatoccuronthesametime
scale.

Keywords:limnologyfreshwaterthermalstratificationphytoplanktonzooplanktonlakefoodchain

RelatedSubTopics:
BiomesandEcosystems|FoodWebs|EnergyFlowandStoichiometry|BiogeochemicalCycles|Landscapeand
SpatialEcology

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