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Water temperature dynamics and the prevalence of daytime stratification in small temperate shallow lakes

Martinsen, Kenneth Thorø, Andersen, Mikkel René, Sand-Jensen, Kaj
Hydrobiologia 2019 v.826 no.1 pp. 247-262
air temperature, biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, lakes, light intensity, mixing, oxygen, probability, spring, summer, temperature profiles, water temperature, wind speed
Small lakes are understudied compared to medium- and large-sized lakes, but have recently received increased attention due to their abundance and importance for global scale biogeochemical cycles. They have close terrestrial contact, extensive environmental variability, and support high biodiversity among them. Temporal and spatial variability of water temperature, oxygen, and stratification–mixing dynamics were examined during a year in nine small Danish lakes. We found that diel mean surface water temperatures were similar among lakes while the diel range decreased with increasing water depth. Vertical temperature stratification occurred on 47% of the days during the entire year and 64% of summer days, usually with daytime stratification and nocturnal convective mixing. The probability of daytime stratification increased with higher incident irradiance, higher air temperature, and lower wind speed. During spring, daytime stratification caused differences in oxygen saturation between surface and bottom waters. These findings offer new insights on the high variability of water temperature and oxygen in time and space in small temperate shallow lakes. The variable water temperature and the regular stratification–mixing processes will have a pronounced influence on biogeochemical cycles. Also, these features are expected to affect the performance and evolutionary process of organisms associated with small lakes.