Sediment Nutrient Flux Rates In A Shallow, Turbid Lake Are More Dependent On Water Quality Than Lake Depth


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The bottom sediments of shallow lakes are an important nutrient sink; however, turbidity may alter the influence of water depth on sediment nutrient uptake by reducing light and associated oxic processes, or altering nutrient availability. This study assessed the relative influence of water quality vs. water depth on sediment nutrient uptake rates in a shallow agricultural lake during spring, when sediment and nutrient loading are highest. Nitrate and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) flux rates were measured from sediment cores collected across a depth and spatial gradient, and correlated to water quality. Overlying water depth and distance to shore did not influence rates. Both nitrate and SRP sediment uptake rates increased with greater Secchi depth and higher water temperature, and nitrate and SRP rates increased with lower water total N and total P, respectively. The importance of water temperature on N and P cycling was confirmed in an additional experiment; however, different patterns of nitrate reduction and denitrification suggest that alternative N-2 production pathways may be important. These results suggest that water quality and temperature can be key drivers of sediment nutrient flux in a shallow, eutrophic, turbid lake, and water depth manipulation may be less important for maximizing spring runoff nutrient retention than altering water quality entering the lake.
agriculture, eutrophication, denitrification, lake depth, sediment, temperature
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