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Lack of lake augmentation effects on aquatic macrophyte abundance and distribution in west-central Florida lakes, USA

Hoyer, Mark V., Canfield, Daniel E., Jr., Netherland, Michael D., Leeper, Douglas A.
Hydrobiologia 2012 v.686 no.1 pp. 29-40
alkalinity, biogeography, calcium phosphates, chlorophyll, environmental factors, hydrochemistry, lakes, macrophytes, phosphorus, photosynthesis, species diversity, wells, Florida
This study tested the hypothesis that lake augmentation with well water impacts the distribution and abundance of aquatic plants in lakes. Water chemistry was measured from 14 wells, 14 augmented lakes, and 14 lakes without augmentation. Nine in-lake aquatic macrophyte abundance and species distribution metrics were measured in all lakes. Net photosynthetic rate (NPR) of nine submersed species was also measured in well and lake water. Augmentation increased alkalinity in receiving lakes, but total phosphorus was significantly lower, which resulted in lower chlorophyll and greater Secchi depths. Although measured NPR was higher for all plants incubated in well water, only one (emergent species richness) in-lake aquatic macrophyte metric was different in lakes with and without augmentation. Lake augmentation significantly changed water chemistry of receiving waters, but effects on aquatic macrophytes were minimal, suggesting that other environmental factors are limiting the distribution and abundance of macrophytes in the study lakes. The lower phosphorus levels in augmented lakes were unexpected because phosphorus concentrations in well water were significantly greater than in lakes with or without augmentation. Precipitation of calcium phosphate likely accounts for the reduced phosphorus levels in augmented lakes.