Environmental Science Lakes: A Guide to the Scientific Literature
by
Warwick F. Vincent
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0107

Introduction

Lakes are aquatic ecosystems of wide-ranging cultural, economic, and scientific importance, and they are the subject of study in many disciplines, including ecology, geography, biogeochemistry, civil engineering, and water resource management. In the late 19th century, the Swiss natural historian François Forel coined the word limnology from the Greek limne, meaning lake, and he defined this new science as “the oceanography of lakes.” The term was subsequently broadened to include all inland waters, including rivers and even estuaries, but most of the textbooks and journals in limnology place greater emphasis on lakes. The term lakes is derived from the Latin word lacus, meaning basin, and in the limnological literature it is usually applied in the widest sense to mean basins of water that range over a continuum of sizes, from farm ponds and reservoirs to vast inland seas, and over a range of salinities, from freshwater to brackish and hypersaline. Many monographs have been published that focus on the limnology of specific lakes, lake types or regions, from the polar zones to the tropics. Forel’s early work identified four broad themes in lake science, and sections of this article divide the literature accordingly. Physical limnology includes geological aspects of lakes, including basin origins and morphometry (shape), the hydrological balance of water inputs and losses, thermal and optical properties of lakes, and the hydrodynamic features of lakes, including waves, mixing, stratification, and currents. Chemical limnology encompasses studies on the biogeochemistry of nutrient and carbon cycles, including greenhouse gas fluxes, the biogeochemical linkages between lakes and their surrounding catchments, sediment-water interactions, and photochemical processes that affect organic matter and contaminants. Biological limnology considers the biodiversity, functioning, and ecological role of animals, plants, and microbes in the lake, including their food web relationships, habitat requirements and temporal variations. Applied limnology addresses the reciprocal relationship between humans and lakes: the use and management of ecosystem services, such as drinking water, fisheries, and hydroelectricity, and human impacts on lakes, including nutrient enrichment (eutrophication), other types of pollution, the introduction of invasive species, and global climate change. This division of the literature into four themes is somewhat arbitrary, for although each scientific article may emphasize one subject area over another, all of the subjects are connected. From the earliest studies onward, limnology has sought to identify linkages and interactions among the disparate aspects of lake ecosystems to achieve an overall, integrated synthesis of ecological understanding.

Historical Background

The formal emergence of lake science in the 19th century was a result of developments in geography, oceanography (especially the Challenger Expedition, 1872–1876), physics, chemistry, and biology, including advances in microscopy; these origins are summarized in Egerton 2014 and Vincent and Bertola 2014. Limnology was established as a discipline by François Forel’s three volume monograph on Lake Geneva (Forel 1892–1904), which integrated all available data from Swiss and French sources along with his own myriad studies, including his extensive research on lake physics, bottom-dwelling animals, food webs, and human activities within the basin. Other seminal contributions included Forbes 1925 (originally published in 1887) on lakes as self-contained microcosms, the six volumes on the lochs of Scotland (Murray and Pullar 1897–1909), work by Einar Naumann classifying lakes as oligotrophic and eutrophic according to their algal productivity and extended by August Thienemann to their benthic animal communities (Thienemann 1921), studies by Edward A. Birge and Chancey Juday on dissolved gases in Wisconsin lakes (Birge and Juday 1911), and by Raymond L. Lindeman on food webs and carbon flow (Lindeman 1942). The four-volume monograph by G. Evelyn Hutchinson (Hutchinson 1957–1993) is considered the foundation for subsequent limnological studies throughout the 20th century.

  • Birge, E. A., and C. Juday. 1911. The inland lakes of Wisconsin: The dissolved gases of the water and their biological significance. Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 22. Madison: State of Wisconsin.

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    This is one of many fundamental contributions by Edward A. Birge (b. 1851–d. 1950) and Chancey Juday (b. 1871–d. 1944). It summarizes earlier work, including the Birge terminology of epilimnion and hypolimnion that is used today to describe lake stratification, and it sets the foundation for lake biogeochemistry by way of depth profiles of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals in several lakes, notably Wisconsin’s Lake Mendota, with attention to “the physiology of the lake as a whole.” Reprinted in E. A. Birge and C. Juday, Limnology in Wisconsin (New York: Arno, 1977).

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  • Egerton, F. N. 2014. History of ecological sciences, part 50: Formalizing limnology, 1870s to 1920s. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 95.5: 131–153.

    DOI: 10.1890/0012-9623-95.2.33Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is part of an extensive, scholarly account of the history of ecology, with a balanced survey of major developments in Europe and North America.

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  • Forbes, S. A. 1925. The lake as a microcosm. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 15.9: 537–550.

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    Originally published in 1887. In this highly influential article, Stephen A. Forbes (b. 1844–d. 1930) describes lakes as liquid “islets” in the landscape, where the life and death interactions of aquatic food webs play out in apparent isolation from the surrounding terrestrial environment. François Forel modified this view by noting that in biogeochemical terms, lakes are open systems that exchange materials with the rest of the world, including via gas exchange with the atmosphere.

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  • Forel, F. A. 1892–1904. Le Léman: Monographie limnologique. Lake Geneva Limnological Monograph. 3 vols. Lausanne, Switzerland: F. Rouge & Compagnie.

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    This is the classic work by François A. Forel (b. 1841–d. 1912) in which he defines limnology as the oceanography of lakes, and then examines the limnology of Lake Geneva (known in French as Léman) in scholarly depth. Volume 1 addresses the geology, morphometry, and geography of the lake, while Volume 2 treats the physical properties of the water, including thermal stratification, mixing, currents, and water color. Volume 3 covers the biology, chemistry, and human ecology of the lake.

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  • Hutchinson, G. E. 1957–1993. A treatise on limnology. 4 vols. New York: Wiley.

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    This encyclopedic treatise by G. Evelyn Hutchinson (b. 1903–d. 1991) encompasses lake geography, physics and chemistry (Vol. 1, 1957); lake biology, including the plankton (Vol. 2, 1956); aquatic botany (Vol. 3, 1975); and the zoobenthos (Vol. 4, 1993).

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  • Lindeman, R. L. 1942. The trophic-dynamic aspect of ecology. Ecology 23.4: 399–417.

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    Raymond L. Lindeman (b. 1915–d. 1942) built on and greatly extended the work by Forel, Thienemann, and others to develop the trophic dynamic concept of energy flow through the aquatic food web. In this classic study at Cedar Bog Lake, Lindeman drew attention to the bottom sediments (“the ooze” and its decomposer communities) as the carbon and energy hub connecting all biota in the lake, and he modeled the efficiency of energy fluxes through each trophic level, from producers to consumers. Available online by purchase or subscription.

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  • Murray, J., and L. Pullar, eds. 1897–1909. Bathymetrical survey of the Scottish fresh-water lochs. 6 vols. Edinburgh: Challenger Office.

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    John Murray (b. 1841–d. 1914) is considered the “father of oceanography” but he was also a limnologist. He worked as a naturalist onboard the Challenger Expedition that set the foundation for oceanography, and he led the publication of more than fifty reports resulting from the expedition. He then went on to lead and undertake a limnological research program on the freshwater and marine lochs of Scotland, which culminated in this six-volume publication.

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  • Thienemann, A. 1921. Seetypen. Naturwissenschaften 9.18: 343–346.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01487893Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translated as “Lakes types.” August F. Thienemann (b. 1882–d. 1960) was director of the Plön laboratory in Germany and the most influential European limnologist during the early 20th century. In this paper he adopted the lake classification scheme of Swedish limnologist Einar Naumann (b. 1891–d. 1934) and differentiated three lake types (eutrophic, oligotrophic, and dystrophic) based on their biological features, especially benthic chironomids. Thienemann and Naumann established the International Limnological Society (SIL) in 1922 (see Journals).

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  • Vincent, W. F., and C. Bertola. 2014. Lake physics to ecosystem services: Forel and the origins of limnology. Limnology and Oceanography e-Lectures 4.3.

    DOI: 10.4319/lol.2014.wvincent.cbertola.8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This slide set with supporting text traces the life of François A. Forel and his broad range of studies that led him to found and define the science of limnology. It includes paintings, photographs, and other illustrations of Forel’s research at Lake Geneva, with links to modern day themes in lake science, such as satellite remote sensing and the impacts of climate change.

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  • Wesenberg-Lund, C. 1906. A comparative study of the lakes of Scotland and Denmark. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 25:401–448.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0370164600008622Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An early example of comparative limnology. Carl Wesenberg-Lund (b. 1867–d. 1955) was a professor of limnology at the University of Copenhagen and is known for his extensive investigations of the plankton in Danish lakes. In this article he reports on his sampling visit to Scotland at the invitation of John Murray to express his “views as to the most useful lines of investigation that might be taken up with reference to the biology of the Scottish lakes.”

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General Overviews

Several books are available that introduce modern lake science to a general audience. These volumes draw on examples from around the world and briefly cover a subset of topics in physical, chemical, biological, and applied limnology. Eutrophication (degradation of lake water quality by nutrient enrichment) and the early debates on limiting nutrients are described in Schindler and Vallentyne 2008. The most well-known of the world’s lakes are described in Burgis and Morris 2007, while smaller bodies of waters are given greater attention in Brönmark and Hansson 2005 and in Moss 2017. Different ways of viewing the importance of lakes, from centers of biodiversity to water supplies and sentinels of change, are described in Vincent 2018.

  • Brönmark, C., and L.-A. Hansson. 2005. The biology of lakes and ponds. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This volume first introduces the reader to the physical and chemical nature of freshwater habitats (the “abiotic frame”) and then describes the plants, animals, and microbes that live within them. Emphasis is placed on the biological adaptations that allow aquatic organisms to achieve ecological success in lakes and ponds. The book also includes suggestions for experiments and observations.

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  • Burgis, M. J., and P. Morris. 2007. The world of lakes: The lakes of the world. Ambleside, UK: Freshwater Biological Association.

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    This well-illustrated volume spans a wide range of lake types, including lakes of the English Lake District in the United Kingdom and tropical African waters.

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  • Moss, B. 2017. Ponds and small lakes: Microorganisms and freshwater ecology. Exeter, UK: Pelagic.

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    Conceived for senior school students, undergraduates, and amateur natural historians, this compact, colorful handbook introduces many basic concepts in lake science. It includes illustrated keys to algae, heterotrophic protists (protozoa), and other taxonomic groups, suggestions for field sampling, observations and experiments, and an annotated bibliography, including reference works for freshwater biota of the United Kingdom.

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  • Schindler, D. W., and J. R. Vallentyne. 2008. The algal bowl: Overfertilization of the world’s freshwaters and estuaries. Edmonton: Univ. of Alberta Press.

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    This is a revised edition of Richard Vallentyne’s classic book on eutrophication, The Algal Bowl: Lakes and Man (Ottawa, ON: Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Marine Service, 1974), extended by leading limnologist David Schindler. Apart from introducing many limnological concepts such as stratification, inorganic carbon chemistry, and primary production, this book provides an eye-opening account of the battle to counter disinformation from the soap and detergent industry, and the research that led to identifying phosphorus as the key nutrient for lake restoration and protection measures.

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  • Vincent, W. F. 2018. Lakes: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/actrade/9780198766735.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This short volume provides an overview of lake science, from François Forel’s seminal work at Lake Geneva that laid the foundations of limnology to modern discoveries in microbiology, optics, chemistry, and food web analysis. The book includes sections on “extreme lakes” such as polar and saline waterbodies, and it places emphasis on the relationships between humans and lakes, including the impacts of eutrophication, invasive species, and climate change.

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Textbooks

Many options are available for books to accompany undergraduate and graduate level courses in limnology, and although the emphasis is on lakes, most also extend to flowing waters and wetlands and even to estuaries (Horne and Goldman 1994) and coastal lagoons (Tundisi and Tundisi 2012). Most of the volumes place emphasis on ecological mechanisms, including Dodds and Whiles 2019, Dodson 2005, Lampert and Sommer 2007, and Moss 2018, while Kalff 2002 gives special attention to statistical relationships among limnological variables. Physical and chemical aspects are especially well introduced in Cole and Weihe 2016, and they are described in greater detail in Wetzel 2001. General concepts in freshwater ecology are introduced in Smol 2008, with emphasis on pollution impacts and their analysis via sediment records.

  • Cole, G. A., and P. E. Weihe. 2016. Textbook of limnology. 5th ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

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    This textbook introduces the main groups of microbes, plants, and animals of lakes; their organization into communities; and the physical and chemical features of their aquatic habitats. The book includes sections on wetlands and streams and a chapter on the important topic of lake morphometry (basin shape).

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  • Dodds, W. K., and M. R. Whiles. 2019. Freshwater ecology. 3d ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

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    This textbook provides a lucid introduction to all aspects of limnology, including rivers, wetlands, reservoirs, fish ecology, and fisheries. Inserted boxes of images and text throughout the volume describe the inspiring contributions of key limnologists. Many examples from applied limnology are used to illustrate important concepts, and each chapter finishes with a set of thought-provoking questions that are especially suitable for class discussions. This third edition includes new material on global change, ecosystem services, molecular approaches, and emergent diseases.

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  • Dodson, S. I. 2005. Introduction to limnology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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    This elegantly produced textbook is written most especially for undergraduate students in featuring a lively writing style, engaging artwork, study guides, and field and laboratory exercises in freshwater ecology. Stanley Dodson (b. 1944–d. 2009) was a food web ecologist and award-winning educator, and the book places emphasis on ecological principles and human linkages, including a final chapter on the role of the “citizen limnologist” in society.

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  • Horne, A. J., and C. R. Goldman. 1994. Limnology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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    This book by two limnologists who have worked throughout the world captures the excitement of limnology with conceptual diagrams, photos, and graphs that are well designed for undergraduate teaching. The authors take a broad view of limnology and the book includes chapters on flowing water ecosystems, reservoirs, estuaries, and applied limnology. Many of the sections now require updating with more recent studies, but the conceptual overviews and figures are excellent.

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  • Kalff, J. 2002. Limnology: Inland water ecosystems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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    The first chapter provides a superb introduction to the different conceptual approaches toward lake science, from the search for general patterns (“empirical limnology”) to studies focused on a mechanistic understanding (“analytical limnology”). The book places emphasis on statistical patterns, but it also gives many detailed examples of limnological processes, and it explains the challenges of applying the results from either approach across different spatial and temporal scales.

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  • Lampert, W., and U. Sommer. 2007. Limnoecology: The ecology of lakes and streams. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This popular textbook, first published in German in 1993 as Limnoökologie, emphasizes biological interactions and evolutionary ecology, with examples taken especially from central Europe. Winfried Lampert is well known for his work on cladoceran zooplankton (especially Daphnia as a model organism) and Ulrich Sommer for his work on phytoplankton succession (seasonal changes in algal community structure), and the sections on zooplankton and phytoplankton ecology are particular strengths of this volume.

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  • Le Cren, E. D., and R. H. Lowe-McConnell. 1980. The functioning of freshwater ecosystems. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    This work brings together concepts and data from the International Biological Program of the 1960s and 1970s. It includes work from Russia as well as other study regions that have often been missed by English-language scientific literature.

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  • Margalef, R. 1983. Limnología. Barcelona: Ediciones Omega.

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    This authoritative work by Ramon Margalef (b. 1943–d. 2016), one of the most inspirational ecologists of the 20th century is available only in Spanish, but it covers the full range of topics in limnology. It is well illustrated and gives particular attention to ecosystem theory.

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  • Moss, B. 2018. Ecology of freshwaters: Earth’s bloodstream. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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    This book by Brian Moss (b. 1943–d. 2016), former president of the International Limnological Society (SIL), takes a catchment-oriented perspective on freshwater ecosystems and provides examples from throughout the world. The book has been written for undergraduate courses, and it includes discussion about “the uses, abuses and restoration” of lakes, with a final chapter on the implications of climate change for freshwater ecosystems. This fifth and final edition has been extensively revised and updated, including with color illustrations.

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  • Smol, J. P. 2008. Pollution of lakes and rivers: A paleoenvironmental perspective. 2d ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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    This book introduces a broad range of topics about the pollution of freshwater environments, including eutrophication, acid rain, mercury contamination, persistent organic pollutants, ozone depletion, and climate change. By way of many examples, John Smol illustrates how paleolimnology (analysis of lake sediments to reconstruct environmental records) is a powerful approach to assess the timing and magnitude of pollution impacts and to guide environmental management strategies and targets.

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  • Tundisi, J. G., and T. M. Tundisi. 2012. Limnology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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    This is an English translation of the book Limnologia published in Portuguese in 2008. It is beautifully laid out and illustrated, and it includes sections on rivers, wetlands, reservoirs, coastal lagoons, water resource management, and limnological research methods. A particular strength of this volume is that it presents illustrative studies from throughout the world, with numerous examples from Brazil and other parts of Latin America.

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  • Wetzel, R. G. 2001. Limnology: Lake and river ecosystems. 3d ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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    Written by Robert Wetzel (b. 1936–d. 2005), distinguished limnologist and former president of SIL, this book has long been the most thorough textbook, and it remains an important detailed compendium of information. With more than 16,000 citations to date (Google Scholar), this work continues to be the gold standard in limnology.

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Reference Works

The Encyclopedia of Inland Waters (Likens 2009) is the most comprehensive recent reference work on lakes and related topics in limnology, and it is available in various formats, including an online version that is especially easy to access via the text-linked index. Guides to the taxonomy and ecology of various groups of freshwater biota include Wehr, et al. 2015 (algae); Thorp and Covich 2010 (invertebrates); Scott and Crossman 1973 (fish, Canada); and Kottelat and Freyhof 2007 (fish, Europe). Guides to methods in lake sampling and analysis include Baird, et al. 2017; Wetzel and Likens 2010; and Havel 2016. The latter two volumes include methods in lake shape analysis (morphometry), which are treated in more detail in Håkanson 1981 (but see the Physical Limnology section for up-to-date articles on this subject).

  • Baird, R. B., E. W. Rice, and A. D. Eaton, eds. 2017. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 23d ed. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

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    First published in 1905 and updated regularly ever since, this essential resource includes hundreds of chemical, physical, and biological methods for water analysis that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (USA). It is available online, with updates, by subscription.

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  • Francis, R. A., ed. 2012. A handbook of global freshwater invasive species. New York: Routledge.

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    This comprehensive reference covers invasive plant and animals, including emerging problem species. The book has sections on aquatic and riparian plants, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians and reptiles, aquatic and riparian mammals, and aquatic pathogens. It was released in paperback in 2017, and it is also available as in e-book format.

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  • Håkanson, L. 1981. A manual of lake morphometry. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-81563-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A systematic description of terms and techniques in lake morphometry studies.

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  • Havel, J. E. 2016. Laboratory exercises for freshwater ecology. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

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    This is an excellent teaching as well as reference manual, with detailed field and laboratory protocols and keys for all major groups of aquatic organisms. Also available in a convenient e‑book format.

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  • Kottelat, M., and J. Freyhof. 2007. Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Cornol, Switzerland: Publications Kottelat.

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    From great sturgeons to minnows, this is an identification guide to the more than 500 fish species in Europe, including introduced taxa.

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  • Likens, G. E., ed. 2009. Encyclopedia of inland waters. 3 vols. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

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    Under the editorial guidance of former SIL president Gene E. Likens and twenty-three section editors, this compendium brings together more than 300 specialists who have contributed succinct essays on physical, chemical, biological, and applied aspects of limnology. The encyclopedia includes regional summaries of lake distribution and diversity as well as sections on groups of freshwater biota, from archaea, bacteria and viruses to birds, fishes, mammals, and reptiles.

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  • Scott, W. B., and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada Bulletin 184. Ottawa, ON: Fisheries Research Board of Canada.

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    This is still the classic reference source for Canadian fish biologists. This rich compendium of information on the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of freshwater fish includes the descriptions of many species that are also found outside Canada. It is available in both English and French.

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  • Thorp, J. H., and A. P. Covich, eds. 2010. Ecology and classification of North American freshwater invertebrates. 3d ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic.

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    An encyclopedic compilation of knowledge about the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of lake, pond, river, and wetland invertebrates, organized according to phylum.

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  • Wehr, J. D., R. G. Sheath, and J. P. Kociolek, eds. 2015. Freshwater algae of North America: Ecology and classification. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.

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    A comprehensive guide to the taxonomy and ecology of freshwater algae, of broad relevance throughout the world given the cosmopolitan distribution of many algal taxa. The volume includes chapters on cyanobacteria by the leading taxonomist in the field, Jiri Kormárek, and all chapters are richly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

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  • Wetzel, R. G., and G. E. Likens. 2010. Limnological analyses. 3d ed. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

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    This structured handbook, available in different formats including as an e-book, describes field and laboratory exercises that cover the physical, chemical, and biological properties of lakes and other aquatic ecosystems. Each exercise is introduced with a background theory section and is followed by questions for students.

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Journals

Lake science covers such an enormous breadth of topics that an exhaustive list of all the journals publishing scientific articles about lakes would run to dozens of pages and would include numerous titles in general science, environmental science (including pollution, ecotoxicology, conservation, and climate change), and ecology, as well as specialist journals in microbiology, botany (including phycology), zoology (including fish biology), biogeochemistry, geology, geophysics, sedimentology, fluid mechanics, and water engineering. However, certain publications stand out because of their affiliation to professional limnological societies at an international or national level. Many other journals also cover general limnology, or they focus on biological and more specific aspects of lakes and other aquatic ecosystems. Annual rankings and citation statistics of journals in the aquatic sciences, including many that publish on lakes, are provided at the Scimago Journal and Country Rank portal.

Professional Society Journals: International

A number of international societies bring together limnologists from throughout the world and publish journals covering the full range of topics in lake science. The longest established of these are the International Limnological Society and the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. More recently established associations with official journals include the North American Lake Management Society, the Society for Freshwater Science, and the International Association for Great Lakes Research.

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

The Limnological Society of America was founded by Chancey Juday and colleagues in 1936, and it merged with the Oceanographic Society of the Pacific in 1948 to create the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography. The society was subsequently renamed the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) in recognition of its international purview and membership. The purpose of ASLO is to “foster a diverse, international scientific community that creates, integrates and communicates knowledge across the full spectrum of aquatic sciences, advances public awareness and education about aquatic resources and research, and promotes scientific stewardship of aquatic resources for the public interest.” Forel acknowledged the close relationship between limnology and oceanography, and it is fitting that all ASLO publications extend across the full range of aquatic ecosystems, from inland waters to the sea. The main ASLO journals are Limnology and Oceanography and Limnology and Oceanography Letters, both of which include theme issues on specific topics. Limnology and Oceanography e-Lectures are tutorials with downloadable slides on specific topics, while Limnology and Oceanography: Methods focuses on new methodologies and Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin provides newsletter items and articles of general interest to ASLO members.

International Association for Great Lakes Research

The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) is an association of scientists who study the Laurentian Great Lakes and other lakes of the world, especially waterbodies that have a surface area of greater than 500 km2. IAGR publishes the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

International Limnological Society

The International Limnological Society was founded in 1922 by the Swedish aquatic biologist Einar Naumann (b. 1891–d. 1934) and the German zoologist August Thienemann (b. 1882–d. 1960) at an inaugural meeting in Plön, Germany, as the Societas Internationalis Limnologiae (SIL). The definition of limnology was subsequently broadened from that initially set by Forel to encompass all inland waters, including lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. The society journals (now published through Taylor and Francis and available online by subscription) include SIL Proceedings, SIL Communications and Inland Waters. SIL is especially strong in regional limnology, and the online archives of these journals at Taylor and Francis provide a veritable gold mine of limnological information for global syntheses and statistical analysis.

North American Lake Management Society

The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) was founded in 1980 with a focus given to applied limnology and based on a strong commitment toward citizen involvement in lake science and stewardship. For example, the society runs the “Secchi Dip-in” each year that involves hundreds of lake residents and visitors throughout North America. The stated purpose of the society is “to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs . . . for today and tomorrow.” Its publications include Lake and Reservoir Management and Lakeline.

Society for Freshwater Science

The Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) focuses on flowing water ecosystems, with an emphasis on benthic invertebrates. This reflects its origins as the Midwest Benthological Society in 1953, later renamed the North American Benthological Society (in 1986), and, as of 2012, the Society for Freshwater Science. The society’s purpose is “to promote further understanding of freshwater ecosystems (rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries) and ecosystems at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial habitats (wetlands, bogs, fens, riparian forests, and grasslands). Its official society journal is Freshwater Science.

Professional Society Journals: National

Subsequent to the creation of the International Limnological Society, many national and regional societies were founded to promote local research and education in the science of inland waters. Several of these groups went on to found their own journals, with emphasis on publishing regional studies. These professional societies included the Brazilian Society of Limnology, the Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, the Japanese Society of Limnology, the Iberian Association of Limnology, the Italian Association of Limnology and Oceanography, the Russian Hydrobiological Society, and the Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists.

Brazilian Society of Limnology

The Brazilian Society of Limnology (Associação Brasileira de Limnologia, ABLimno) was founded in 1982 with the aim to promote the development of Brazilian limnology. The society publishes the journal Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia.

Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology

The Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology(CSOL) has around 8,000 members and “plays important roles in developing the nation’s marine and lake sciences and technologies.” The society founded and oversees three journals: the Journal of Oceanology and Limnology (in English), Oceanologia et Limnologia Sinica (in Chinese), and the Journal of Lake Sciences (in Chinese).

Japanese Society of Limnology

The Japanese Society of Limnology (JSLIM) was founded in 1931, making it the world’s first national limnological society. It publishes two journals, the Japanese Journal of Limnology and Limnology.

Iberian Association of Limnology

The Iberian Association of Limnology (Asociación Ibérica de Limnología, AIL) was initially founded as the Spanish Association of Hydrobiologists in 1981, and it subsequently broadened its geographical scope to include limnologists in Portugal, Spain, and Latin America. It was cofounder in 2005 of the European Federation for Freshwater Sciences (EFFS) that brings together limnological societies from several countries, including the Freshwater Biological Association of the United Kingdom (FBA), the German Society of Limnology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie, DGL), and the French Association for Limnology (Association Française de Limnologie, AFL). The Iberian Association of Limnology has a special interest in solutions to water problems in society, and it publishes the journal Limnetica.

Italian Association of Limnology and Oceanography

The Italian Association of Limnology and Oceanography (Associazione Italiana di Oceanologia e Limnologia, AIOL) was founded in 1972 to promote the collaboration among disciplines within limnology and oceanography. It publishes the journal Advances in Oceanography and Limnology.

Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists

The Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists (SASAqS) was founded in 964 and subsequently broadened its mandate to include research and management of inland estuarine and marine waters in southern Africa. The society published the African Journal of Aquatic Science.

Russian Hydrobiological Society

The Russian Hydrobiological Society was originally founded in 1947 under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR as the All-Union Hydrobiological Society. It sought to bring together Soviet scientists working in the areas of hydrobiology, ichthyology, and related branches of theoretical and applied science (around 2,300 members in the 1970s). Renamed the Russian Hydrobiological Society, it was presided over for many years by distinguished limnologist G. G. Winberg (b. 1905–d. 1987), professor at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The institute produced the Proceedings of the All-Union Hydrobiological Society.

Other Lake Science Journals

Lake science journals include those covering the full sweep of topics in theoretical and applied limnology throughout the world and others that began with more of a regional focus, but then later expanded to include limnological studies from other lake sites. Certain journals focus on aspects of freshwater as well as marine biology, while others focus on specific topics such as conservation issues and paleolimnological studies.

International Limnology

The two longest running journals in limnology are Fundamental and Applied Limnology (since 1906) and the International Review of Hydrobiology (since 1908). These periodicals were subsequently joined by several other journals that publish articles on the science of lakes and other aquatic ecosystems throughout the world. The most prolific of these is Hydrobiologia, which runs to thousands of pages every year (6,321 journal pages in 2017, including special issues). Other general limnological journals that are global in scope include Freshwater Reviews, International Journal of Limnology, and Limnologica.

Regional and Global Limnology

Several journals began with a regional focus and then subsequently broadened out to include articles from throughout the world, while still retaining their regional strengths. These periodicals include Aquatic Ecology (The Netherlands), Aquatic Sciences (Switzerland), Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (Canada), Hydrobiological Journal (Russia and eastern Europe), Journal of Limnology (Italy), Marine and Freshwater Research (Australia), and the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research (New Zealand, Antarctica, and Oceania).

Freshwater Biology

Several journals focus on the biota of aquatic environments, either across all groups of organisms (Aquatic Biology, Freshwater Biology) or on specific functional and taxonomic groups, including invasive species (Aquatic Invasions), plants (Aquatic Botany), algae (Journal of Phycology), harmful algal blooms (Harmful Algae), fish (Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries and Transactions of the American Fisheries Society), microbes (Aquatic Microbial Ecology), and the plankton (Journal of Plankton Research).

Special Topics

Lake sediments contain many biological and chemical indicators of environmental change, and the Journal of Paleolimnology is one of the key journals that publishes the analysis of such records. Studies of mineral indicators in lake sediments, and sedimentation processes that deliver these minerals to the lake floor, are published in various geological journals, including Sedimentary Geology. The protection and conservation of lake ecosystems is one of the important themes covered in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Several engineering publications cover applied aspects of lakes and reservoirs, including Water Research, while Water and the Journal of Water Science include environmental engineering as well as purely limnological topics.

Specific Lakes and Regions

Beginning with the classic work by Forel at Lake Geneva (see Historical Background), many limnological monographs are available on specific lakes because of their features of outstanding scientific or cultural interest, and often because they attracted the close attention of certain limnologists. Lake Mendota is sometimes referred to as “the most studied lake in the world,” as a result of more than one hundred years of research, including the pioneering studies of limnologist Edward Birge and his long-term assistant Chancey Juday (Brock 1985). Volumes that summarize the unique features of specific lakes include Kozhova and Izmest’eva 1998 on Lake Baikal; Dejoux and Iltis 1992 on Lake Titicaca (Peru and Bolivia); Carmouze, et al. 1983 on Lake Chad; and Awange and Ong’ang’a 2006 on Lake Victoria. Alaska lakes are considered in Hobbie and Kling 2014, and many limnological aspects of lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are described in Priscu 1998. Polar lakes are treated more generally in Vincent and Laybourn-Parry 2008. A journal special issue on Canadian lakes, including high Arctic Char Lake, includes many classic limnological papers with observations and insights that continue to be of great value (Harvey and Geen 1974).

  • Awange, J. L., and O. Ong’ang’a. 2006. Lake Victoria: Ecology, resources, environment. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.

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    Lake Victoria has attracted interest because of its vast size and high biodiversity of endemic fish species. This books covers water balance; fisheries and tourism; the environmental challenges that it faces, including via invasive plant and animal species; and the application of satellite remote sensing to this African great lake.

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  • Brock, T. D. 1985. A eutrophic lake: Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. New York: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-8700-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lake Mendota is a classic example of a lake that has undergone rapid eutrophication as a result of human activities. This book outlines the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the lake, with a compendium of limnological data.

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  • Carmouze, J.-P., J. R. Durant, and C. Lévêque, eds. 1983. Lake Chad: Ecology and productivity of a shallow tropical ecosystem. The Hague: W. Junk.

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    This volume introduces the long paleohistory of Lake Chad, one of the world’s great lakes, and its susceptibility to extreme fluctuations in water levels. Chapters by specialists cover specific aspects of its modern-day flora and fauna.

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  • Dejoux, C., and A. Iltis, eds. 1992. Lake Titicaca: A synthesis of limnological knowledge. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

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    This is an exhaustive work that covers all aspects of the lake, from its geological origins and fluctuations of water level with climate to thermal and chemical characteristics, plants and animals of the lake, and cultural and economic aspects, including fisheries. The final chapter of the book treats pollution issues, including eutrophication.

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  • Harvey, H. H., and G. H. Geen, eds. 1974. Special issue: Limnology in Canada. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 31.5.

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    This special issue was prepared for the 19th Congress of the International Limnological Association (SIL), held in Winnipeg, Canada. It contains many classic data sets, including annual records from high Arctic lakes that highlight the importance of winter limnology (an important theme today); studies on the physics, geology, and biology of the Laurentian Great Lakes; and analyses of the effects of hydroelectric developments in Canada.

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  • Hobbie, J. E., and G. W. Kling, eds. 2014. Alaska’s changing Arctic: Ecological consequences for tundra, streams, and lakes. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This volume includes an overview of Toolik Lake, a long-term ecological research site in northern Alaska that has served as a site of limnological studies since the mid-1970s.

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  • Kozhova, O. M., and L. R. Izmest’eva, eds. 1998. Lake Baikal: Evolution and biodiversity. 2d ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-74370-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A volume that focuses on the remarkable endemic fauna and flora, including the plankton, of this deep ancient lake.

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  • Priscu, J. C., ed. 1998. Ecosystem dynamics in a polar desert: The McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union.

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    Introduces the limnology of the perennially ice-capped, meromictic waterbodies in this polar desert region, as well as environmental features of their surroundings.

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  • Vincent, W. F., and J. Laybourn-Parry, eds. 2008. Polar lakes and rivers: Limnology of Arctic and Antarctic aquatic ecosystems. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book includes contributions from many specialists in high latitude limnology and considers general features as well as specific physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of Arctic and Antarctic lake ecosystems.

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Saline Lakes

Salt lakes are found on every continent and range from small, shallow, ephemeral waters to vast inland seas. They have been of great interest to limnologists because of their unusual chemical and microbiological properties and their simplified food webs that often support prolific bird populations. Saline lakes have often been on the front line of conservation battles, and their negative water balance makes them especially vulnerable to climate change and upstream water extraction. Hammer 1986 provides a comprehensive introduction to saline lakes, while Javor 1989 focuses on hypersaline environments. The largest of all lakes in the world is the Caspian Sea (371,000 km2), with a salinity about one-third that of seawater (Kostianoy and Kosarev 2005). The International Society for Salt Lake Research has organized symposia on the limnology of saline inland waters from 1979 to the present, and the papers that have been produced have been published in special issues of journals, for example Melack 1989.

  • Hammer, U. T. 1986. Saline lake ecosystems of the world. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: W. Junk.

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    This volume is a comprehensive compendium of older information about the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of salt lakes throughout the world. The final chapter considers the human uses of saline lakes, including salt mining, health spas, and eco-tourism.

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  • Javor, B. 1989. Hypersaline environments: Microbiology and biogeochemistry. Berlin: Springer Verlag.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-74370-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume introduces each microbial group found in highly saline waters, and it includes chapters devoted to specific lakes that are well known in the limnological and microbiological literature, including Solar Lake, Great Salt Lake, Antarctic salt lakes, and the Dead Sea.

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  • Kostianoy, A. G., and A. N. Kosarev, eds. 2005. The Caspian Sea environment. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

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    The waters of the Caspian Sea owe their salt content to terrestrial rather than marine sources, and this vast waterbody is therefore considered a lake, unlike the Black Sea, for example, which exchanges seawater with the ocean. This book covers physical, chemical, and biological aspects, with emphasis on the Russian literature.

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  • Melack, J. M., ed. 1989. Special issue: Saline lakes. Hydrobiologia 158.

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    This special issue is illustrative of the edited volumes resulting from conferences organized by the International Society for Salt Lake Research. The papers span a broad range of geological, physical, chemical, and biological (including microbiological) topics, and all volumes can be accessed via the ISSLR website.

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Physical Limnology

This theme begins with geological aspects, including the origin and shape of lake basins (morphometry). The balance of lake inflows, outflows, and evaporation determines the water residence time, a key limnological variable that affects the response of a lake ecosystem to chemical inputs from the surrounding catchment. Lakes are energized by the sun and the wind, and this results in the wave currents that collectively determine their hydrodynamic properties. The color of a lake provides clues to its water quality and terrestrial influences, and the penetration and spectral quality of light affects underwater photosynthesis. Underwater UV radiation is another important aspect of “lake optics” through its effects on photochemical as well as photobiological processes. The physical effects of lake ice are the subject of increasing interest because of climate warming and the need to understand the implications of a shorter winter ice season in polar, alpine, and north temperate lakes.

Lake Morphometry and Global Surveys

A starting point for any lake study is the analysis of basin shape, and a current approach toward estimating morphometric indices is described in Hollister and Stachelek 2017. This article also summarizes the literature showing the importance of such indices for understanding lake ecosystems. Satellite imagery has been used to make a global inventory of lakes (Verpoorter, et al. 2014), and this analysis has been extended by way of a geostatistical approach to estimate total volumes and average residence times of lakes throughout the world (Messager, et al. 2016). The latter study revealed a negative log-log relationship between numbers of lakes and lake size; this is of particular limnological interest because small lakes are not only the most abundant, but they also have the highest biogeochemical activity per unit area; see Downing 2010.

  • Downing, J. A. 2010. Emerging global role of small lakes and ponds. Limnetica 29.1: 9–24.

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    Limnologists have traditionally focused on lakes of moderate to large size, but as persuasively argued in this article, smaller waterbodies also deserve close attention because they collectively make up a huge total area, have a rich flora and fauna, and typically support rapid rates of biogeochemical reactions and high greenhouse gas (especially methane) emission fluxes to the atmosphere per unit area of lake surface.

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  • Hollister, J., and J. Stachelek. 2017. lakemorpho: Calculating lake morphometry metrics in R. F1000Research 6.

    DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.12512.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes the development of a tool in R to model and estimate lake morphometry based on digital elevation models and hydrography. The resultant package can be open-accessed from the Comprehensive R Archive Network, and it allows calculation of metrics such as surface area, shoreline length and development, axis lengths, fetch, and mean depth and volume.

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  • Messager, M. L., B. Lehner, G. Grill, I. Nedeva, and O. Schmitt. 2016. Estimating the volume and age of water stored in global lakes using a geo-statistical approach. Nature Communications 7:13603.

    DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13603Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use topographical information from the surrounding terrain to estimate the depth and volume of lakes throughout the world with a surface area of at least 0.1 km2 (equivalent to a circular lake at least 356 m across). The article briefly reviews the importance of lake morphometry and residence time for lakes, and they authors calculate a median water residence time of 456 days for the world’s lakes. Data are shown for individual countries and major lakes.

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  • Verpoorter, C., T. Kutser, D. A. Seekell, and L. J. Tranvik. 2014. A global inventory of lakes based on high-resolution satellite imagery. Geophysical Research Letters 41.18: 6396–6402.

    DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060641Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on satellite imagery and a minimum detectable size of 0.002 km2 (equivalent to a circular waterbody 50 m across), the authors estimate that there are 117 million lakes in the world, with a total surface area of 5 million km2.

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Water Balance and Lake Levels

Water balance controls lake level, and this can fluctuate greatly with changes in climate. For shallow lakes these depth fluctuations can result in large changes in area. One of the most pronounced examples is Lake Chad in central Africa, where changes in lake extent are severely affecting the well-being and security of people in the lake basin (Rudincová 2017). Saline lakes often have a precarious water balance, and throughout much of the world these water bodies are showing changes in water level and areal extent as a result of human uses as well as climate change (Wurtsbaugh, et al. 2017). Ice-dependent lakes are also highly sensitive to climate; a dramatic example is the collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet some 8,200 thousand years ago that resulted in catastrophic drainage of Lake Agassiz-Ojibway (Turney and Brown 2007).

  • Rudincová, K. 2017. Desiccation of Lake Chad as a cause of security instability in the Sahel region. GeoScape 11.2: 112–120.

    DOI: 10.1515/geosc-2017-0009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the changes in lake area at Lake Chad (90 percent reduction since the 1960s) and describes how this deterioration of the environment, in the absence of appropriate government actions, has led to worsening living conditions for the local people, in turn making them vulnerable to militant terrorist activities.

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  • Turney, C. S., and H. Brown. 2007. Catastrophic early Holocene sea level rise, human migration and the Neolithic transition in Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 26.17–18: 2036–2041.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.07.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides an example of how large lakes affect not only regional climate, but also can have a wider influence. The sudden collapse of ice and draining of Lake Agassiz-Ojibway resulted in global sea level rise, estimated to be up to 1.4 m, and the coastal flooding of lands used by early farmers may have caused Neolithic communities in Europe to migrate inland.

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  • Wurtsbaugh, W. A., C. Miller, S. E. Null, et al. 2017. Decline of the world’s saline lakes. Nature Geoscience 10.11: 816–821.

    DOI: 10.1038/NGEO3052Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Draws attention to the sensitivity of saline lakes to changes in water supply and the need for accurate estimates of water inflows and losses. The authors apply a simple water balance model to understand the dropping lake level in Great Salt Lake, Utah, and they conclude that human water use rather than long-term climate change has caused its large reduction in size.

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Lake Hydrodynamics

Large scale hydrodynamic processes are described for the Laurentian Great Lakes in Boyce, et al. 1989, while Imberger and Patterson 1989 and Wüest and Lorke 2003 focus on small-scale processes such as stratification and turbulence. MacIntyre, et al. 1999 provides a well-documented example of mixing at the edge of a lake, and an overview of convective motions in lakes is provided by Bouffard and Wüest 2019. Hipsey, et al. 2017 reviews the development of hydrodynamic models of lakes and describes the one-dimensional model used by the GLEON network. An example of a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model is provided by Liu, et al. 2018 for Lake Taihu, while Soulignac, et al. 2018 applies a three-dimensional model to Lake Geneva in combination with satellite remote sensing data to explain spatial variations in algal abundance.

  • Bouffard, D., and A. Wüest. 2019. Convection in lakes. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 51:189–215.

    DOI: 10.4319/lo.1999.44.3.0512Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this detailed and much-needed review, the authors note that because of the absence of tides and limited wind fetch, convective processes (motions caused by differences in density) often play a dominant role as drivers of lake hydrodynamics. The review combines theoretical studies with observations, and considers diverse mechanisms including surface thermal convection, differential cooling, river inflow and side-arm convection, convective processes under ice (see Under-Ice Lake Physics), and bioconvection caused by dense concentrations of planktonic cells.

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  • Boyce, F. M., M. A. Donelan, P. F. Hamblin, C. R. Murthy, and T. J. Simons. 1989. Thermal structure and circulation in the Great Lakes. Atmosphere-Ocean 27.4: 607–642.

    DOI: 10.1080/07055900.1989.9649358Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This review provides a well-illustrated overview of currents, stratification, and mixing in the Laurentian Great Lakes and covers topics such as historical measurements, seasonal variations in thermal structure, the “thermal bar” (the density gradient that restricts inshore-offshore exchange), surface seiches and storm surges, and the important effects of Coriolis Force on wind-driven currents in these large lakes.

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  • Hipsey, M. R., L. C. Bruce, C. Boon, et al. 2017. A General Lake Model (GLM 2.4) for linking with high-frequency sensor data from the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON). Geoscientific Model Development Discussions.

    DOI: 10.5194/gmd-2017-257Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper describes the utility of one-dimensional hydrodynamic models in limnology and details the formulation of the General Lake Model used in the GLEON network in conjunction with their high-resolution continuous monitoring data.

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  • Imberger, J., and J. C. Patterson. 1989. Physical limnology. Advances in Applied Mechanics 27:303–475.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2156(08)70199-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Introduces stratification, turbulence, and internal wave dynamics, including development of the Wedderburn Number and Lake Number concepts.

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  • Liu, S., Q. Ye, S. Wu, and M. J. F. Stive. 2018. Horizontal circulation patterns in a large shallow lake: Taihu Lake, China. Water 10.6:792.

    DOI: 10.3390/w10060792Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An example of a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model. Lake Taihu is a large (2250 km2) shallow (mean depth of 2 m) lake that has experienced severe eutrophication, yet it is also the water supply for 30 million people. Modelling of wind-driven currents showed a complex circulation pattern with more than ten gyres, reflecting the complex geometry of the lake basin. The results also showed that clear water diverted from a nearby river was dispersed throughout most of the lake.

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  • MacIntyre, S., K. M. Flynn, R. Jellison, and J. R. Romero. 1999. Boundary mixing and nutrient fluxes in Mono Lake, California. Limnology and Oceanography 44.3: 512–529.

    DOI: 10.4319/lo.1999.44.3.0512Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    By way of detailed temperature microstructure and nutrient profiling, this study shows how the entrainment of nutrients into the surface waters of saline Mono Lake was dominated by mixing processes at the edge of the lake where internal waves caused the pycnocline (density discontinuity) to move up and down the sloping bottom, generating turbulence and chemical exchange.

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  • Soulignac, F., P.-A. Danis, D. Bouffard, et al. 2018. Using 3D modeling and remote sensing capabilities for a better understanding of spatio-temporal heterogeneities of phytoplankton abundance in large lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 44:756–764.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2018.05.008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was developed for Lake Geneva (France-Switzerland) to produce maps of water temperature and current velocities with 1–7 m vertical resolution and was combined with satellite data for water colour. The results showed that the earlier onset of phytoplankton growth in the shallowest, more sheltered areas was related to the spatial variability in thermal stratification. Transient upwelling events would likely explain the locally higher phytoplankton concentrations observed during summer.

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  • Wüest, A., and A. Lorke. 2003. Small-scale hydrodynamics in lakes. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 35:373–412.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.fluid.35.101101.161220Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Complementary to Imberger and Patterson 1989, with numerous examples, helpful figures, and attention to theoretical aspects of water flow and mixing. The authors contrast the turbulent surface and bottom boundary layers with the “comparatively quiet interior” of lakes.

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Lake Optics

Bukata, et al. 1995 provides an introduction to the bio-optics of lake water color and underwater light penetration, and more detailed, technical analyses are given in Mobley 1994. One of the main constituents of lake water affecting its color and transparency is colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM). In many lakes of the world, CDOM is increasing in concentration, possibly due to increased storm runoff from the surrounding terrestrial environment and an associated shorter lake water residence time, and Williamson, et al. 2015 considers the limnological implications of this “browning” of lakes. CDOM is a major factor affecting the penetration of ultraviolet radiation into natural waters, as illustrated by the global compilation of data in Rose, et al. 2009 for low-CDOM alpine lakes. Increases in vegetation and CDOM inputs with climate warming may reduce UV-exposure in polar and alpine lakes, but this effect may be offset by the loss of lake ice and its UV-blocking associated snow cover; see Belzile, et al. 2001.

  • Belzile, C., W. F. Vincent, J. A. E. Gibson, and P. van Hove. 2001. Bio-optical characteristics of the snow, ice, and water column of a perennially ice-covered lake in the High Arctic. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58.12: 2405–2418.

    DOI: 10.1139/cjfas-58-12-2405Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illustrates the controlling effect of snow and lake ice on solar radiation penetrating into the water column of a lake and concludes that disappearance of the snow cover would have major impacts on the annual heat budget and exposure to UV radiation.

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  • Bukata, R. P., J. H. Jerome, A. S. Kondratyev, and D. V. Pozdnyakov. 1995. Optical properties and remote sensing of inland and coastal waters. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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    This volume provides one of the best overviews of hydrologic optics. The e-book version was published in 2018.

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  • Mobley, C. D. 1994. Light and water: Radiative transfer in natural waters. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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    This detailed, technical manual also forms the theoretical background to the software package Hydrolight that models the color of natural waters (water-leaving spectral radiance) and the spectral penetration of light through the water column based on scattering and absorption (inherent optical properties). This book and related publications are available for download via the Ocean Optics Web Book, also by Curtis Mobley.

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  • Rose, K. C., C. E. Williamson, J. E. Saros, R. Sommaruga, and J. M. Fischer. 2009. Differences in UV transparency and thermal structure between alpine and subalpine lakes: Implications for organisms. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 8:1244–1256.

    DOI: 10.1039/B905616ESave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Arctic, Antarctic, and alpine lakes are fed by catchments in which vegetation is sparse or absent, and this results in low inputs of UV-absorbing humic materials. In this analysis of optical data from sites around the world, the authors show that CDOM concentrations are low in alpine lakes and that this fact, in combination with the higher incident solar radiation, results in high UV exposure in these habitats.

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  • Williamson, C. E., E. P Overholt, R. M. Pilla, et al. 2015. Ecological consequences of long-term browning in lakes. Scientific Reports 5:18666.

    DOI: 10.1038/srep18666Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the measured and potential effects of increased concentrations of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in natural waters. Analysis of a twenty-seven-year record from two lakes indicated that the recorded increase in CDOM resulted in surface warming, changes in habitat structure, and food web shifts.

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Under-Ice Lake Physics

The influence of ice-cover on lake ecosystems is of increasing interest to limnologists given the effects of climate warming and the focus of attention on winter limnology (Hampton, et al. 2017). An introduction to this subject is provided in Kirillin, et al. 2012. Cortés, et al. 2017 examines the inflow of snowmelt into ice-capped Toolik Lake in Alaska in spring, while Kirillin, et al. 2015 considers processes in the inshore regions of shallow water. The importance of density flows under the ice, including those generated by bacterial respiration in the sediments, are examined by MacIntyre et al. 2018. Pernica et al. 2017 considers the importance of sunlight-driven convective mixing for phytoplankton production under the ice.

  • Cortés, A., S. MacIntyre, and S. Sadro. 2017. Flowpath and retention of snowmelt in an ice-covered arctic lake. Limnology and Oceanography 62.5: 2023–2044.

    DOI: 10.1002/lno.10549Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Limnological study of Toolik Lake, Alaska, showing different flow paths and retention times for snow melt inflows during spring when the lake is covered by ice of decreasing thickness through time.

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  • Hampton, S. E., A. W. E. Galloway, S. M. Powers, et al. 2017. Ecology under lake ice. Ecology Letters 20.1: 98–111.

    DOI: 10.1111/ele.12699Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This presents a global analysis of thirty-four biotic and abiotic limnological variables for measurements beneath the ice of lakes in many regions of the world, and draws attention to the usual persistence of phytoplankton and zooplankton in ice-covered waters.

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  • Kirillin, G., M. Leppäranta, A. Terzhevik, et al. 2012. Physics of seasonally ice-covered lakes: A review. Aquatic Sciences 74.4: 659–682.

    DOI: 10.1007/s00027-012-0279-ySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an excellent overview of the physical properties of seasonal lake ice and the processes that give rise to sub-ice flow and mixing.

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  • Kirillin, G. B., A. L. Forrest, K. E. Graves, A. Fischer, C. Engelhardt, and B. E. Laval. 2015. Axisymmetric circulation driven by marginal heating in ice-covered lakes. Geophysical Research Letters 42.8: 2893–2900.

    DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062180Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes lake-wide circulation patterns caused by heating of the open water moat region of ice-covered lakes in spring. In Lake Kilpisjärvi, Finland, these slow-moving density currents were shown to be subject to Coriolis force, resulting in a lake-wide anticyclonic gyre.

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  • MacIntyre, S., A. Cortés, and S. Sadro. 2018. Sediment respiration drives circulation and production of CO2 in ice-covered Alaskan arctic lakes. Limnology and Oceanography Letters 3:302–310.

    DOI: 10.1002/lol2.10083Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes how various density flow processes can occur under the ice and their implications for water column stratification and gas dynamics. The transfer of heat from sediments to the cold overlying water after ice-on can give rise to density flows because density increases with warming over the range 0–3.98°C. Bacterial mineralization processes in sediments release ions that also cause a local increase in water density, thereby leading to flows of solute-enriched water that may pool at the bottom and ultimately become anoxic and sites of methane production, particularly in smaller lakes.

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  • Pernica, P., R. L. North, and H. M. Baulch. 2017. In the cold light of day: The potential importance of under-ice convective mixed layers to primary producers. Inland Waters 7:138–150.

    DOI: 10.1080/20442041.2017.1296627Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This winter study of four reservoirs and a large lake (Lake Simcoe) showed how solar-induced convective mixing varied among sampling sites and times. In Lake Simcoe, peak chlorophyll a concentrations consistently occurred within the convection cell, which likely maintained the phytoplankton cells in suspension in the upper water column where there was sufficient light for photosynthesis.

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Chemical Limnology

The strange chemical properties of water have enormous consequences for the functioning of lake ecosystems, and many of those properties are the subject of ongoing research (Pettersson, et al. 2016). Lakes are intense sites of organic carbon processing and release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, as well as sinks for the long-term burial of organic carbon in lake sediments (Battin, et al. 2009; Cole, et al. 2007). Current estimates indicate that lakes and reservoirs contribute a small but measurable fraction of total greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (DelSontro, et al. 2018). Although methanogenesis is typically associated with the activity of Archaea in anoxic bottom waters and sediments, it is also recorded in aerobic water columns (Bogard, et al. 2014). In addition to microbial processing of organic carbon, photochemical degradation is increasingly identified as a key process, including conversion of organic carbon into forms that may be more available for bacterial decomposition, as in Laurion and Mladenov 2013. Phosphorus is a controlling element for algal production in lakes; the release of this element from anoxic lake sediments (“internal loading”) is illustrated in Ding, et al. 2015. Nitrogen may also be a limiting factor for phytoplankton, and genomic methods have revealed that the availability of this element is controlled by a complex network of metabolically versatile microbes (Kuypers, et al. 2018). The importance of elemental ratios in natural waters as well as other environments is described in Sterner and Elser 2002. Oxygen is a master variable controlling many aspects of lake chemistry and biology. The precarious photosynthesis-respiration balance and its effect on oxygen concentrations is illustrated by surveys and metabolic measurements in Forsberg, et al. 2017 in Amazon floodplain lakes. The biogeochemical contrasts and downstream coupling between lakes and the ocean are considered in Xenopoulos, et al. 2017.

  • Battin, T. J., S. Luyssaert, L. A. Kaplan, A. K. Aufdenkampe, A. Richter, and L. J. Tranvik. 2009. The boundless carbon cycle. Nature Geoscience 2:598–600.

    DOI: 10.1038/ngeo618Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a short, well-crafted summary of the role of inland water ecosystems in the global carbon cycle. It emphasizes the importance of sedimentation in lakes (the “watery grave” for organic carbon), lateral transfers from land to water, and carbon outgassing from lakes and rivers.

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  • Bogard, M. J., P. A. del Giorgio, L. Boutet, et al. 2014. Oxic water column methanogenesis as a major component of aquatic CH4 fluxes. Nature Communications 5:5350.

    DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6350Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Consistent with increasing evidence of methane production in oxygenated marine and freshwaters, this study found that methane was produced in enclosures of oxic lakewater and that its concentration and fluxes were linked to pelagic primary production. The article suggests that this may be the main source of methane production in large deep lakes.

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  • Cole, J. J., Y. T. Prairie, N. F. Caraco, et al. 2007. Plumbing the global carbon cycle: Integrating inland waters into the terrestrial carbon budget. Ecosystems 10.1: 172–185.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10021-006-9013-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study combined estimates of gas exchange, sediment accumulation, and carbon transport to produce a global carbon budget for inland water ecosystems and the “active pipe model” of how lakes process their carbon inputs. The results highlight the importance of carbon losses to the sediments and the atmosphere: only 50 percent of the carbon entering inland aquatic systems is exported to the sea.

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  • DelSontro, T., J. J. Beaulieu, and J. A. Downing. 2018. Greenhouse gas emissions from lakes and impoundments: Upscaling in the face of global change. In Special issue: Carbon cycling in inland waters: Progress and perspectives. Edited by P. del Giorgio and E. Stanley. Limnology and Oceanography Letters 3.3.

    DOI: 10.1002/lol2.10073Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This meta-analysis scales up from lake and reservoir measurements throughout the world to calculate the total annual greenhouse gas flux to the atmosphere and estimates it to be equivalent to about 13 percent of the effect of the current global emission of CO2 by the combustion of fossil fuels. Around 75 percent of this calculated climate impact is due to methane. The authors also conclude that ongoing eutrophication may increase these lake emissions by 5 to 40 percent in the future.

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  • Ding, X., M. Behbahani, C. Gruden, and Y. Seo. 2015. Characterization and evaluation of phosphate microsensors to monitor internal phosphorus loading in Lake Erie sediments. Journal of Environmental Management 160:193‒200.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.06.010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes the application of a novel microsensor to detect phosphorus gradients at mm-level resolution within and immediately above samples of organic-rich sediments from Lake Erie. The results provide a striking illustration of phosphorus release under anoxic conditions.

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  • Forsberg, B. R., J. M. Melack, J. E. Richey, and T. P. Pimentel. 2017. Regional and seasonal variability in planktonic photosynthesis and planktonic community respiration in Amazon floodplain lakes. Hydrobiologia 800.1: 187–206.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3222-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study on the metabolism of seasonally flooded lakes in Amazonia shows how these waters are strongly influenced by their large inputs of allochthonous carbon from the surrounding forest, resulting in high ratios of water column respiration to photosynthesis and surface water oxygen concentrations that are typically below air-equilibrium values.

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  • Kuypers, M. M., H. K. Marchant, and B. Kartal. 2018. The microbial nitrogen-cycling network. Nature Reviews Microbiology 16.5: 263–276.

    DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro.2018.9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A clearly laid-out, beautifully illustrated review of the complex microbial transformations that comprise the nitrogen cycle. The article describes well-established as well as novel processes and shows how recent genomic studies have revealed unexpected metabolic versatility within nitrogen-transforming microorganisms.

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  • Laurion, I., and N. Mladenov. 2013. Dissolved organic matter photolysis in Canadian arctic thaw ponds. Environmental Research Letters 8.3: 035026.

    DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An example of photochemical effects of sunlight on CDOM. Exposure of thaw pond water to solar radiation resulted in a loss of color but not dissolved organic carbon (DOC), with fluorescence analysis indicating the conversion of the DOC into forms that are more available as microbial substrates.

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  • Pettersson, L. G. M., R. H. Henchman, and A. Nilsson. 2016. Water: The most anomalous liquid. Chemical Reviews 116.13: 7459–7462.

    DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00363Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This open-access editorial provides a chemical overview of the strange properties of H2O, including aspects of ongoing uncertainty at the scale of molecular aggregates (the ever-changing hydrogen-bonded structures that constitute water) and about the interaction of water with ions and other solutes. This article is the introduction to a theme issue of the same name, with reviews on subjects such as water at interfaces, protons and hydroxyl ions in aqueous solution, and modeling water molecule interactions.

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  • Sterner, R. W., and J. J. Elser. 2002. Ecological stoichiometry: The biology of elements from molecules to the biosphere. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    Describes how the ratio of elements, at all scales from subcellular to the biosphere, provides novel insights into the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Both authors are limnologists, and many examples are drawn from lake studies.

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  • Xenopoulos, M., J. A. Downing, M. D. Kumar, S. Menden-Deuer, and M. Voss, eds. 2017. Special issue: Headwaters to oceans: Ecological and biogeochemical contrasts across the aquatic continuum. Limnology and Oceanography 62.S1.

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    This theme issue of Limnology and Oceanography mostly focuses on estuaries, but contributors also make interesting comparisons between freshwater and marine systems and describe the biogeochemical coupling between lakes and the sea.

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Biological Limnology

This theme covers the full spectrum of taxonomic groups, from microbes to zooplankton, fish, birds, and mammals. Topics include biodiversity analysis, studies of biological production and biomass stocks, and network relationships among organisms and their responses to environmental change.

Lake Microbiomes

The most biologically diverse constituents of lake ecosystems are the microbes: viruses (Suttle 2016), bacteria (Newton, et al. 2011), archaea, and microbial eukaryotes, notably protists and fungi. These along with their many functions collectively form the ‘lake microbiome’. Genomic methods, as described in Hug, et al. 2016, are providing exciting new insights into the taxonomic and functional diversity of aquatic microbiomes, for example in ancient Lake Baikal (Cabello-Yeves, et al. 2018), hypersaline Mono Lake (Edwardson and Hollibaugh 2017), and extreme subglacial environments (Christner, et al. 2014). Microbial mats (thick biofilms) are a common feature of high-latitude lakes, ponds, and streams, and the microbiome characteristics of these communities were examined by Vigneron, et al. 2018. DNA analysis is increasingly being applied to lake sediments to reconstruct microbiomes in the past (“paleomicrobiomes”) as indicators of changing water quality, as in Tse et al. 2018.

  • Cabello-Yeves, P. J., T. I. Zemskaya, R. Rosselli, et al. 2018. Genomes of novel microbial lineages assembled from the sub-ice waters of Lake Baikal. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84:e02132-17.

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    This detailed metagenomic study of planktonic bacteria beneath the ice of Lake Baikal allowed the analysis of microbial community structure and function, including by metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). The results showed the importance of Verrucomicrobia in this community and the widespread presence of rhodopsin genes, indicating the potential for photoheterotrophy. A freshwater SAR11 genotype was present, and this had a close genetic affinity to a marine strain of Pelagibacter ubique.

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  • Christner, B. C., J. C. Priscu, A. M. Achberger, et al. 2014. A microbial ecosystem beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Nature 512.7511: 310–313.

    DOI: 10.1038/nature13667Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article treats a compelling example of an extreme lake ecosystem based on bacteria and archaea. More than 400 subglacial lakes occur beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, some of them connected in vast hydrological networks, and such waters also occur beneath the ice in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. The authors are the first to analyze the complex microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of these environments, which are of great interest to astrobiologists.

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  • Edwardson, C. F., and J. T. Hollibaugh. 2017. Metatranscriptomic analysis of prokaryotic communities active in sulfur and arsenic cycling in Mono Lake, California, USA. The ISME Journal 11:2195–2208.

    DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2017.80Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study applied high-throughput sequencing of environmental mRNA (metatranscriptomics) to examine the microbial communities and functions involved in arsenic and sulfur cycling in hypersaline Mono Lake, California. The results drew attention to the importance of Thioalkalivibrio to arsenic and sulfur biogeochemistry in this lake and revealed new taxa that appear capable of oxidizing and reducing arsenic.

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  • Hug, L. A., B. J. Baker, K. Anantharaman, et al. 2016. A new view of the tree of life. Nature Microbiology 1:16048.

    DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.48Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    New bioinformatics methods applied to environmental DNA samples are resulting in complete and near-complete genome sequences. This approach obviates the need for cultivation, which typically selects only a small subset of microbes in the community, and is revealing novel species, genera, and even phyla that likely play a major role in lake ecosystems.

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  • Newton, R. J., S. E. Jones, A. Eiler, K. D. McMahon, and S. Bertilsson. 2011. A guide to the natural history of freshwater lake bacteria. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 75. 1: 14–49.

    DOI: 10.1128/MMBR.00028-10Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excellent introduction to the major phyla of bacteria in freshwaters, from common genera, such as Limnohabitans and Polynucleobacter, to taxa that are less well known, such as Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes. The article includes notes on the ecology and biogeography of each group and ends with suggestions on how to build on this knowledge base toward the important aim of linking community structure to functional traits.

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  • Suttle, C. A. 2016. Environmental microbiology: Viral diversity on the global stage. Nature Microbiology 1.11: 16205.

    DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.205Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A concise introduction to “wild virus” diversity and function in the environment, including lakes.

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  • Tse, T. J., L. E. Doig, S. Tang, et al. 2018. Combining high-throughput sequencing of seda DNA and traditional palaeolimnological techniques to infer historical trends in cyanobacterial communities. Environmental Science & Technology 52:6842–6853.

    DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06386Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined the paleomicrobiome of a Canadian Great Plains reservoir by DNA analysis of two sediment cores, with a focus on the cyanobacterial communities as indicators of eutrophication and water quality decline. The results indicated recent increases in the abundance of potentially toxic cyanobacteria and of a gene involved in toxin production, the microcystin synthetase gene (mcyA).

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  • Vigneron, A., V. Mohit, P. Cruaud, et al. 2018. Multiple strategies for light-harvesting, photoprotection, and carbon flow in high latitude microbial mats. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:2881.

    DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02881Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study applied a multiphasic approach including metagenomic analysis to characterize mat microbiomes in a high-Arctic and sub-Arctic lake. Both mats were complex microbial ecosystems with diverse viruses, heterotrophic bacteria, eukaryotes (including diatoms, fungi and metazoans), and multiple pathways for light-harvesting and carbon uptake.

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Phytoplankton and Macrophytes

While phytoplankton are the photosynthetic communities of the pelagic zone (Reynolds, et al. 2002), aquatic macrophytes dominate in the littoral zone and play a variety of roles in the ecosystem in addition to primary production (O’Hare, et al. 2018). The application of molecular methods is providing new insights into phytoplankton succession (Salmaso, et al. 2015), including the ecology of cyanobacterial blooms (Tromas, et al. 2017).

Animal Communities and Food Webs

In the offshore pelagic waters of lakes, carbon and energy move from phytoplankton through zooplankton to fish and their predators, such as aquatic birds and mammals. Yoshii, et al. 1999 provides an example of the quantitative feeding relationships among animals in the pelagic zone by stable isotope analysis of the Lake Baikal food web, from phytoplankton to seals. Zooplankton occupy a key intermediate role between the lake microbiome and higher trophic levels, and their carbon may be derived, in part, from allochthonous sources via feeding on protists that consume bacteria using terrestrial carbon (Hiltunen, et al. 2017). There may also be seasonal shifts in the relative importance of within-lake (autochthonous) and allochthonous sources for zooplankton (Rautio, et al. 2011). Allochthonous inputs of organic carbon may be increasing in northern lakes, with deleterious consequences for their food webs (Creed et al. 2018). Bottom dwelling (benthic) communities in lakes include chironomid larvae that can achieve large population densities and alter sediment biogeochemistry (Hölker, et al. 2015). Benthic bacteria, plants, algae, and animals often dominate the total biological productivity of lakes; see Vadeboncoeur, et al. 2002.

  • Creed, I. F., A. -K. Bergström, C. G. Trick, et al. 2018. Global change-driven effects on dissolved organic matter composition: Implications for food webs of northern lakes. Global Change Biology.

    DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the evidence that northern lake waters are browning due to increased inputs of terrigenous organic carbon and then evaluates the potential effects on lake food webs. Concludes that browning will induce a shift from food webs based on autotrophs to food webs dominated by heterotrophic bacteria and a shift from benthic to largely pelagic producers. Additionally, there may be changes in food quality through shifts in nutrient stoichiometry, fatty acid content, phytoplankton species composition, and mercury bioactivity.

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  • Hiltunen, M., M. Honkanen, S. Taipale, U. Strandberg, and P. Kankaala. 2017. Trophic upgrading via the microbial food web may link terrestrial dissolved organic matter to Daphnia. Journal of Plankton Research 39.6: 861–869.

    DOI: 10.1093/plankt/fbx050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an excellent review of the debate concerning the role of terrestrial organic matter in lake food webs and demonstrates experimentally how a heterotrophic nanoflagellate fed on bacteria grown on terrestrial carbon can sustain moderate growth rates of the common lake and pond zooplankton species Daphnia magna.

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  • Hölker, F., M. J. Vanni, J. J. Kuiper, et al. 2015. Tube-dwelling invertebrates: Tiny ecosystem engineers have large effects in lake ecosystems. Ecological Monographs 85.3: 333–351.

    DOI: 10.1890/14-1160.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This well-illustrated review shows how the burrowing activity of chironomid larvae and their feeding currents can greatly change the oxygen conditions and the biogeochemistry of lake sediments.

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  • Rautio, M., H. Mariash, and L. Forsström. 2011. Seasonal shifts between autochthonous and allochthonous carbon contributions to zooplankton diets in a subarctic lake. Limnology and Oceanography 56.4: 1513–1524.

    DOI: 10.4319/lo.2011.56.4.1513Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Stable isotope analysis of the cladoceran Daphnia umbra indicated a shift in diet from autochthonous carbon in summer to allochthonous food in winter, while the same analysis of the abundant copepods in the lake indicated little or no food intake during winter months.

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  • Vadeboncoeur, Y., M. J. Vander Zanden, and D. M. Lodge. 2002. Putting the lake back together: reintegrating benthic pathways into lake food web models. BioScience 52.1: 44–54.

    DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although limnologists often focus on the open waters (pelagic zone) of lakes, these authors point out that periphyton (benthic biofilms of microalgae and associated microbes) and benthic invertebrates often support more than 50 percent of the production of fish at the top of lacustrine food webs, especially in oligotrophic lakes. Benthic bacterial communities often also dominate the total bacterial production in lakes.

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  • Yoshii, K., N. G. Melnik, O. A. Timoshkin, et al. 1999. Stable isotope analyses of the pelagic food web in Lake Baikal. Limnology and Oceanography 44.3: 502‒511.

    DOI: 10.4319/lo.1999.44.3.0502Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    By way of 15N and 13C analyses of the phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish, this study produced a detailed, quantitative description of the diet composition of pelagic animals and food web relationships in Lake Baikal, Russia.

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Migration Ecology

Many invertebrate species remain in deeper waters of lakes and ponds during the day, in part to avoid visual predators, and swim up into the surface waters during the night; Chaoborus larvae are a classic example, but there are differences among species (Stenson 1978). This type of vertical migration behavior in young fish may also allow faster growth rates because of increased digestion rates and metabolism in the warmer surface waters (Neverman and Wurtsbaugh 1994). Fish migration can result in food web coupling between the pelagic and littoral zones (Stockwell, et al. 2014), and between lakes and the ocean (Moore, et al. 2017; Righton, et al. 2016). Mobile species, such as fish, transport and excrete nutrients, thereby affecting spatial and temporal patterns in the biogeochemical cycles of lakes (Stewart, et al. 2018). Migrating fish and aquatic birds also transport contaminants within and between ecosystems (Blais, et al. 2007).

  • Blais, J. M., R. W. Macdonald, D. Mackay, E. Webster, C. Harvey, and J. P. Smol. 2007. Biologically mediated transport of contaminants to aquatic systems. Environmental Science & Technology 41.4: 1075–1084.

    DOI: 10.1021/es061314aSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides examples of how migrating salmonid fish and seabirds act as “contaminant biovectors” by transporting large quantities of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) between ecosystems. The authors develop and apply a numerical simulation model, which shows that although the mass input of contaminants entering a lake via salmonid migration may be small relative to water and atmospheric inputs, the contaminants directly and more efficiently enter the food web via this mechanism.

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  • Moore, J. S., L. N. Harris, J. Le Luyer, et al. 2017. Genomics and telemetry suggest a role for migration harshness in determining overwintering habitat choice, but not gene flow, in anadromous Arctic char. Molecular Ecology 26.24: 6784–6800.

    DOI: 10.1111/mec.14393Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study is likely to be a model for future work on fish migration. The authors combined telemetry and genomic analysis to examine the migratory ecology of Arctic char, a northern lake and river salmonid that spawns in freshwater but moves to the sea over the course of its life history.

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  • Neverman, D., and W. A. Wurtsbaugh. 1994. The thermoregulatory function of diel vertical migration for a juvenile fish, Cottus extensus. Oecologia 98.3–4: 247–256.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF00324211Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Larval sculpin migrated 30–40 m at night from the cold bottom waters of a lake to its warmer surface waters, which allowed them to more rapidly digest the benthic food consumed during the day. By way of laboratory assays, the authors found that this alternating thermal regime would result in 300 percent faster growth rates than under continuous low temperature conditions.

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  • Righton, D., H. Westerberg, E. Feunteun, et al. 2016. Empirical observations of the spawning migration of European eels: The long and dangerous road to the Sargasso Sea. Science Advances 2.10: e1501694.

    DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501694Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The European eel lives in lakes and rivers but spawns at remote sites in the ocean. This article provides evidence that the eels migrate over more than 5,000 km at variable speeds among individuals rather than as a single cohort, with vertical migration into surface waters at night.

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  • Stenson, J. A. 1978. Differential predation by fish on two species of Chaoborus (Diptera, Chaoboridae). Oikos 31.1: 98–101.

    DOI: 10.2307/3543389Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This classic study of Chaoborus larvae (glassworms) shows how the two main European species differ in their vertical migration habits. C. flavicans occurs in fish-containing lakes and ponds and remains in the sediments during the day, migrating to the surface to feed on copepods. In contrast, C. obscuripes avoids fish containing waters and remains through the day in the surface waters, out of reach to benthic predators such as odonate larvae.

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  • Stewart, S. D., D. P. Hamilton, W. T. Baisden, P. Verburg, and I. C. Duggan. 2018. The role of mobile consumers in lake nutrient cycles: A brief review. Hydrobiologia 818.1: 11–29.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10750-018-3603-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article first reviews general concepts in nutrient cycling in lakes, including the importance of microbial processes and hydrodynamic effects such as seasonal mixing. It then describes examples of how fish and other mobile consumers can translocate nutrients among different parts of the lake ecosystem as they move around, particularly via seasonal and diurnal migrations, and how nutrient redistribution via this mechanism differs in its temporal pattern from that due to hydrodynamic and microbial processes.

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  • Stockwell, J. D., D. L. Yule, T. R. Hrabik, M. E. Sierszen, and E. J. Isaac. 2014. Habitat coupling in a large lake system: Delivery of an energy subsidy by an offshore planktivore to the nearshore zone of Lake Superior. Freshwater Biology 59.6: 1197–1212.

    DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12340Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study at Lake Superior illustrates the biological coupling between offshore (pelagic) and inshore (littoral) regions of a lake. The cisco (Coregonus artedi) is a fish that mostly lives offshore, but it moves inshore to spawn during autumn and its lipid-rich eggs provide an energy subsidy to fish in the littoral zone.

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Applied Limnology

Lakes integrate the inputs of energy and mass from their surrounding watersheds and overlying atmosphere, and they are sensitive indicators of change (sentinels) at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Management challenges for lake ecosystems include the consequences of dam-building and water level regulation, the threat of invasive species and their habitat expansion as a consequence of climate warming, and the impacts of eutrophication, particularly the global rise of toxic cyanobacterial blooms. The need to identify and control nutrient sources is now more urgent than ever, given the trend toward warmer temperatures and increased storm-runoff events.

Lakes as Indicators of Change

Changes in the physical characteristics and water quality of lakes are increasingly viewed as not only of intrinsic importance to the lake environment itself, but also as indicators of changes taking place outside the lake. This includes activities in the surrounding catchment, such as forest clearing and recreational use (e.g., Köster, et al. 2005), regional activities such as the use of agricultural pesticides (e.g., Catalan, et al. 2006), and the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on global climate. Polar and alpine lakes, because of their dependence on snow and ice, are particularly sensitive to climate warming, and they are considered global sentinels of change; see Catalan, et al. 2006; Mueller, et al. 2009; and Williamson, et al. 2009. Lake sediments provide an integrated record of environmental change, and their paleolimnological analysis thereby provides powerful insights into variations from baseline conditions and the nature and magnitude of human impacts (Smol 2009).

  • Catalan, J., L. Camarero, M. Felip, et al. 2006. High mountain lakes: Extreme habitats and witnesses of environmental changes. Limnetica 25.1–2: 551–584.

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    This review article places emphasis on limnological studies in the Pyrenees carried out by the Centre for High Mountain Research and shows how alpine lakes provide excellent records of environmental change in the past and present.

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  • Köster, D., R. Pienitz, B. B. Wolfe, et al. 2005. Paleolimnological assessment of human-induced impacts on Walden Pond (Massachusetts, USA) using diatoms and stable isotopes. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management 8.2: 117–131.

    DOI: 10.1080/14634980590953743Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Walden Pond is one of the most well-known lakes in the popular literature because philosopher Henry David Thoreau once lived here, where he was inspired to write his book Walden. The authors use a broad range of paleolimnological indicators to show the widespread clear-cutting, then recovery of forest in New England, and the recent trend toward nutrient enrichment and algal change associated with recreational use by multitudes of visitors each year

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  • Mueller, D. R., P. van Hove, D. Antoniades, et al. 2009. High Arctic lakes as sentinel ecosystems: Cascading regime shifts in climate, ice-cover and mixing. Limnology and Oceanography 54.6, part 2: 2371–2385.

    DOI: 10.4319/lo.2009.54.6_part_2.2371Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illustrates the extreme sensitivity of lakes in the High Arctic to climate change by the thawing of their ice covers, with resultant changes in their stratification, light and nutrient regimes, and because of the “Arctic amplification” of climate warming at high northern latitudes.

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  • Smol, J. P. 2009. Paleolimnology: An introduction to approaches used to track long-term environmental changes using lake sediments. Limnology and Oceanography e-Lectures 1.3: 1–73.

    DOI: 10.4319/lol.2009.jsmol.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This publication by John P. Smol, founding editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology, provides a comprehensive, fully illustrated introduction to the study of lake sediments to understand and quantify the effects of environmental change. Like other contributions to this series, the slides and associated notes can be downloaded and used in teaching.

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  • Williamson, C. E., J. E. Saros, W. F. Vincent, and J. P. Smol. 2009. Lakes and reservoirs as sentinels, integrators, and regulators of climate change. Limnology and Oceanography 54. 6, part 2: 2273–2282.

    DOI: 10.4319/lo.2009.54.6_part_2.2273Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is the introductory overview in a special issue issue of Limnology and Oceanography that considers how lakes are environmental indicators of climate change and how they can also influence local climate via heat balance effects.

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Impacts of Dams

The creation of water storage and hydroelectric reservoirs can have wide-ranging effects, including disruption of biogeochemical cycles (Friedl and Wüest 2002), production and emission of greenhouse gases (Deemer, et al. 2016), mobilization of toxic metals (Willacker, et al. 2016), and impacts on aquatic animal communities, including the loss of biodiversity outlined in Winemiller, et al. 2016.

  • Deemer, B. R., J. A. Harrison, S. Li, et al. 2016. Greenhouse gas emissions from reservoir water surfaces: A new global synthesis. BioScience 66.11: 949–964.

    DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biw117Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this comprehensive synthesis of data from throughout the world, the authors estimate a total greenhouse gas emission from reservoirs of 0.8 Pg CO2 equivalents per annum, which amounts to 1.3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The more productive reservoirs tend to emit more methane, which offsets any effect of higher CO2 uptake by the large algal stocks.

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  • Friedl, G., and A. Wüest. 2002. Disrupting biogeochemical cycles: Consequences of damming. Aquatic Sciences 64.1: 55–65.

    DOI: 10.1007/s00027-002-8054-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This highly cited review article considers the effects of dam building on organic carbon fluxes, nutrient balance, oxygen dynamics, and thermal regimes.

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  • Stanford, J. A., and J. V. Ward. 2001. Revisiting the serial discontinuity concept. In Special issue: Eighth International Symposium on Regulated Streams. Edited by Sue Lane. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management 17.4–5: 303–310.

    DOI: 10.1002/rrr.659Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This classic study builds on early work by the authors to examine how dams influence the downstream functioning of river ecosystems by causing spatial discontinuities in their flow regimes.

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  • Willacker, J. J., C. A. Eagles-Smith, M. A. Lutz, et al. 2016. Reservoirs and water management influence fish mercury concentrations in the western United States and Canada. Science of the Total Environment 568:739–748.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the influence of reservoir creation on mercury cycling through a meta-analysis of data from 883 reservoirs and 1,387 lakes. The authors calculated that the total Hg concentrations in fish averaged 1.4-fold higher values in reservoirs relative to lakes, but with large differences among ecoregions. Age of reservoir and especially the water storage management regime were key explanatory variables.

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  • Winemiller, K. O., P. B. McIntyre, L. Castello, et al. 2016. Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong. Science 351.6269: 128–129.

    DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7082Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The Amazon, Congo, and Mekong Rivers contain about one-third of all freshwater fish species, and they are vulnerable to ongoing dam building. At the time of publication of this article, some 450 dams were planned or under construction on these rivers.

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Invasive Species

One of the greatest threats facing lakes and other inland water ecosystems is the arrival of invasive plants and animals. An ongoing example of the major food web perturbations caused by an introduced species is described in Ellis, et al. 2011 at Flathead Lake, Montana. The arrival of zebra and quagga mussels has created massive impacts in North American and European lakes (Karatayev, et al. 2015). DNA methods are being refined and applied to detect new organisms in lakes, for example to track invasive crayfish species (Larson, et al. 2017).

  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Stanford, D. Goodman, et al. 2011. Long-term effects of a trophic cascade in a large lake ecosystem. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108.3: 1070‒1075.

    DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013006108Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews and updates a classic example of food web disruption by the arrival of a new species. The opossum shrimp Mysis diluviana was introduced into a headwater of Flathead Lake to improve the fishery. Three years later it migrated into the main lake basin where it decimated the zooplankton, leading to a collapse of kokanee salmon stocks and bald eagles that fed on the salmon at a spawning site.

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  • Karatayev, A. Y., L. E. Burlakova, and D. K. Padilla. 2015. Zebra versus quagga mussels: A review of their spread, population dynamics, and ecosystem impacts. In Special issue: Aquatic invasive species. Edited by S. M. Thomaz, K. E. Kovalenko, J. E. Havel, and L. B. Kats. Hydrobiologia 746.1: 97–112.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10750-014-1901-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Zebra and quagga mussels have all the attributes of invasive species that create the most damage in aquatic ecosystems: fast growth rates, broad tolerances, capacity to thrive at high densities, and efficient dispersal that is enhanced by human activities. This review compares the ecology of these two species and their impacts in lakes in North America and Europe.

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  • Larson, E. R., M. R. Renshaw, C. A. Gantz, et al. 2017. Environmental DNA (eDNA) detects the invasive crayfishes Orconectes rusticus and Pacifastacus leniusculus in large lakes of North America. Hydrobiologia 800.1: 173–185.

    DOI: 10.1201/9781420032109Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An illustration of the use of environmental DNA assays, here applied to test the range expansions of the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus and the rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus into the Laurentian Great Lakes and large lakes of California and Nevada, including Lake Tahoe. Subsequent work suggest that eDNA may detect new arrivals but not abundance.

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Eutrophication

Limnological analyses, such as Schindler 1974, in North America, Europe, and Japan, and whole-lake experiments in the IISD Experimental Lakes Area of Canada, have shown how lakes are highly responsive to phosphorus enrichment. These results led to controls on P-loading for lakes throughout the world to reduce the effects of eutrophication (overproduction of algal biomass and related water quality problems), and, in many cases, this has resulted in substantial improvements to the aquatic environment; see Schindler, et al. 2016. However, the focus on phosphorus as the exclusive limiting nutrient for algal growth in lakes has been increasingly questioned (Lewis and Wurtsbaugh 2008), and support has grown for targeting nitrogen as well as phosphorus for eutrophication control in certain lakes (Paerl, et al. 2016). Harmful algal blooms, specifically by toxic cyanobacteria, are among the most serious effects of eutrophication (Bonilla and Pick 2017), and Davis and Gobler 2016 notes evidence exists that their observed expansion throughout the world is favored by climate warming. Jeppesen, et al. 2005 notes how nutrient control has often been successful in reducing eutrophication, including algal blooms. For example, point-source controls of nutrient inputs at Lake Maggiore resulted in a pronounced reduction in noxious cyanobacteria, as indicated by fossil algal pigment records in its lake sediments (Guilizzoni, et al. 2012). However, the return trajectory to improved water quality is often slower than the degradation, in part because of internal loading of phosphorus that is released from previously enriched sediments (Orihel, et al. 2017) and in some lakes because of large, nutrient-rich groundwater reserves with long residence times (Morgenstern, et al. 2015). The most successful examples of lake and reservoir restoration and management have depended on collaborative input from all stakeholders, especially the involvement of communities located within the catchment (Sterner, et al. 2015).

  • Bonilla, S., and F. R. Pick. 2017. Freshwater bloom-forming cyanobacteria and anthropogenic change. Limnology and Oceanography e-Lectures 7.2: 1–62.

    DOI: 10.1002/loe2.10006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This open-access lecture of sixty-two slides and accompanying notes introduces the evolution of cyanobacteria, their cellular and ecophysiological traits, and the processes that lead to bloom development. The lecture describes how bloom-forming cyanobacteria are stimulated by climate warming and summarizes the variety of toxins that they produce. Several case studies are presented, along with developments in bloom detection, such as satellite remote sensing and molecular analysis, and the e-lecture ends with an extensive bibliography.

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  • Davis, T. W., and C. J. Gobler. 2016. Preface. In Special issue: Global expansion of harmful cyanobacterial blooms: Diversity, ecology, causes, and controls. Edited by T. W. Davis and C. J. Gobler. Harmful Algae 54:1–3.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2016.02.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This editorial preface to a theme issue on harmful cyanobacteria provides a concise overview of the impacts of the increased blooms around the world and introduces the three sections of the special issue: genera-specific reviews of the five cyanobacteria that most commonly cause water quality problems; analysis of taste, odor, and toxic compounds produced by cyanobacteria; and how environmental change affects cyanobacterial dominance and mitigation strategies.

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  • Gal, G., and T. Zohary. 2017. Development and application of a sustainability index for a lake ecosystem. Hydrobiologia 800.1: 207–223.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3269-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is a key resource for Israel as the only freshwater lake in the country that provides up to 30 percent of the country’s drinking water needs. This article gives an up-to-date overview of water quality indices and describes an index that is also applicable to lakes elsewhere. The index includes a measure of cyanobacteria, which, since the mid-1990s, have become an increasingly abundant component of the phytoplankton.

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  • Guilizzoni, P., S. N. Levine, M. Manca, et al. 2012. Ecological effects of multiple stressors on a deep lake (Lago Maggiore, Italy) integrating neo and palaeolimnological approaches. Journal of Limnology 71.1: 1–22.

    DOI: 10.4081/jlimnol.2012.e1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Paleolimnological records for many indicators in Lake Maggiore, a large European lake, showed eutrophication from the 1960s to early 1980s, followed by the effects of point source regulation that caused a pronounced improvement in lake conditions, including reduced cyanobacteria. This study also shows the complex interplay among multiple stressors, including nutrients, other chemical contaminants, fish introduction, chemical pollution, and climate change.

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  • Jeppesen, E., M. Søndergaard, J. P. Jensen, et al. 2005. Lake responses to reduced nutrient loading: An analysis of contemporary long-term data from 35 case studies. Freshwater Biology 50.10: 1747–1771.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01415.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This extensive meta-analysis showed that reduction of external total phosphorus loading resulted in lower phytoplankton biomass concentrations and higher Secchi depth transparencies in most lakes, with a new equilibrium reached within ten to fifteen years. There was a significant reduction in the cyanobacterial contribution to the phytoplankton in deep lakes and a shift back toward piscivorous fish that are more characteristic of oligotrophic waters.

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  • Lewis, W. M., Jr., and W. A. Wurtsbaugh. 2008. Control of lacustrine phytoplankton by nutrients: Erosion of the phosphorus paradigm. International Review of Hydrobiology 93.4–5: 446–465.

    DOI: 10.1002/iroh.200811065Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This review paper first summarizes the history of the limnological paradigm whereby phosphorus has been considered the sole nutrient limiting phytoplankton growth in lake waters. The authors then identify flaws and limitations in the evidence for this exclusive P-limitation, and they conclude that dual N plus P limitation is more consistent with the literature. They note, however, that reduced P-loading is still likely to be the most successful management strategy for eutrophication control.

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  • Morgenstern, U., C. J. Daughney, G. Leonard, et al. 2015. Using groundwater age and hydrochemistry to understand sources and dynamics of nutrient contamination through the catchment into Lake Rotorua, New Zealand. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19.2: 803–822.

    DOI: 10.5194/hess-19-803-2015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An example of large nonpoint source loadings of phosphorus and nitrogen into a eutrophic lake as a result of catchment geochemistry (P dissolution from volcanic soils) and the legacy effects of N-rich fertilizers that took fifty years or longer to pass through the large groundwater reservoir.

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  • Orihel, D. M., H. M. Baulch, N. J. Casson, et al. 2017. Internal phosphorus loading in Canadian fresh waters: A critical review and data analysis. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 74.12: 2005–2029.

    DOI: 10.1139/cjfas-2016-0500Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors provide a comprehensive, well-illustrated overview of the phosphorus chemistry of the sediment-water interface in lakes, and from an analysis 618 estimates of internal loading in different aquatic ecosystems, they identify oxygen, pH, geology, and trophic state as the main drivers of flux rates.

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  • Paerl, H. W., J. T. Scott, M. J. McCarthy, et al. 2016. It takes two to tango: When and where dual nutrient (N & P) reductions are needed to protect lakes and downstream ecosystems. Environmental Science & Technology 50.20: 10805–10813.

    DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02575Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues for the importance of reducing nitrogen, in addition to phosphorus, to control the eutrophication of lakes as well as to minimize impacts on downstream marine ecosystems.

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  • Schindler, D. W. 1974. Eutrophication and recovery in experimental lakes: Implications for lake management. Science 184.4139: 897–899.

    DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4139.897Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this classic experimental study, carbon and nitrogen enrichment of one side of a lake divided by a vinyl curtain showed no response, while the other side enriched with nitrogen and carbon plus phosphorus produced a cyanobacterial bloom. In another small lake, the water quality returned to original conditions when only the phosphorus enrichment was discontinued, implying that “rapid abatement of eutrophication may be expected to follow phosphorus control measures.”

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  • Schindler, D. W., S. R. Carpenter, S. C. Chapra, R. E. Hecky, and D. M. Orihel. 2016. Reducing phosphorus to curb lake eutrophication is a success. Environmental Science & Technology 50:8923–8929.

    DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This review article presents evidence from many lakes throughout the world that phosphorus control has been effective in controlling eutrophication, and the authors argue against shifting the focus to N or dual N plus P control. They note, however, the importance of controlling anthropogenic nitrogen emissions, including nitrate contamination of ground waters.

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  • Sterner, G. E., R. Bryant, P. J. A. Kleinman, J. Watson, and T. R. Alter. 2015. Community implementation dynamics: Nutrient management in the New York City and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. International Journal of Rural Law and Policy 1:1–15.

    DOI: 10.5130/ijrlp.i1.2015.4366Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This analysis of community dynamics includes an informative account of how consultation and engagement with the lake basin residents, after a period of conflict, were critical to enacting nutrient controls for the reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains that supply New York City with drinking water. The result was a return to excellent source water quality and cost and maintenance savings to the city that amounted to several billion dollars.

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Lake Restoration and Management Guides

Cooke, et al. 2005 and Hamilton, et al. 2018 are reference guides that describe restoration and environmental management strategies for lakes. Gettys, et al. 2014 focuses specifically on noxious water plants, with material also on algal blooms.

  • Cooke, G. D., E. B. Welch, S. Peterson, and S. A. Nichols. 2005. Restoration and management of lakes and reservoirs. 3d ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

    DOI: 10.1201/9781420032109Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written by four highly experienced limnologists, this reference text introduces basic concepts in limnology and eutrophication and then provides a compendium of algal and macrophyte control techniques. These include strategies to reduce external and internal nutrient loading and analysis of other lake management techniques, including herbicide application, macrophyte harvesting, hypolimnetic aeration and withdrawal, sediment removal, and biological control measures, with many case studies from North America and Europe.

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  • Gettys, L. A., W. T. Haller, and D. G. Petty. 2014. Biology and control of aquatic plants: A best management practices handbook. 3d ed. Marietta, GA: Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation.

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    This open-access handbook describes the impacts of invasive plants on aquatic ecosystems, with chapters on their effects on fish, water fowl, and public health. It covers the full array of physical, chemical, and biological strategies for the control of water weeds, with substantial detail on herbicide guidelines and impacts. Specific chapters are dedicated to individual plant species, such as water hyacinth, Eurasian water-milfoil, and the invasive oxygen weed Egeria densa.

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  • Hamilton D., K. Collier, J. Quinn, and C. Howard-Williams, eds. 2018. Lake restoration handbook: A New Zealand perspective. New York: Springer.

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    This compendium of restoration strategies is highly relevant to lakes throughout the world. It is complementary to Cooke, et al. 2005, with chapters on additional topics such as modeling water quality in support of lake restoration; use of novel technologies, including eDNA and remote sensing; indigenous perspectives; and the utility and application of citizen science.

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Other Inland Water Bibliographies

Forel originally defined limnology as the oceanography of lakes, but this definition was broadened at the time of the founding of the International Limnological Society in 1922 to include all inland waters (see Professional Society Journals: International). This article serves as a guide to the scientific literature that focuses specifically on lakes, while other curated and annotated bibliographies in the Oxford Bibliographies series focus on streams (Richardson 2016), rivers (Wohl 2014b), and wetlands (McGraw 2015). A broad overview of limnology is given in Rooney 2012, and a detailed introduction to the paleolimnological literature is provided in Smol 2017. Other specific topics include river pollution (Wohl 2014a), effects of dams on rivers (Wilcox 2017), bacterial diversity in freshwater (Lindström 2017), and freshwater invertebrate ecology (Whiles 2013).

  • Lindström, E. S. 2017. Bacterial diversity in freshwater. In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This bibliography introduces the literature on bacterial diversity, with sections on methods, alpha- and beta-diversity, evolution, and biogeography. It also extends beyond this topic to provide an excellent entry point into other aspects of aquatic bacterial ecology, including production, seasonal dynamics, microbial food webs, and community function.

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  • McGraw, M. 2015. Wetlands. In Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Wetlands are of wide-ranging societal as well as ecological importance, and this bibliography covers a broad sweep of topics from wetland hydrology and biogeochemistry to economics and policy aspects. Other subjects treated include climate change issues, wetland degradation and remediation, and remote sensing approaches.

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  • Richardson, J. S. 2016. Stream ecology. In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This bibliography covers physical aspects of the stream environment, the life history of stream organisms, food webs and productivity, flow processes, community interactions, and ecosystem function. A final section addresses applied aspects, including conservation issues, flow regulation, stream assessment and restoration, and the impacts of climate change.

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  • Rooney, N. 2012. Limnology. In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    The annotated citations in this bibliography cover physical, chemical, and biological aspects of lakes and other waters, with emphasis on older, seminal studies in the field. The final section focuses on the application of stable isotopes to aquatic food web analysis.

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  • Smol, J. P. 2017. Paleolimnology. In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This up-to-date bibliography provides an annotated listing of textbooks, method handbooks, journals, historical background material, reviews of different paleolimnological indicators, and scientific articles applying paleolimnological approaches to describe lake responses to human impacts and climate change.

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  • Whiles, M. R. 2013. Freshwater invertebrate ecology. In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This bibliography places emphasis on river and stream invertebrates, especially insects. The subjects considered include trophic relationships, secondary production, community ecology, and conservation issues, including the effects of pollutants and responses to climate change.

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  • Wilcox, A. 2017. Effects of dams on rivers. In Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This bibliography introduces the literature on the physical and ecological effects of dams on rivers. Subjects include the effects of changing sediment loads, water flow regimes and riparian vegetation, and the setting of residual flows to sustain downstream ecosystems (“environmental flows”). Books and articles are included for case studies on dam impacts at specific sites in the United States, including the Colorado River and the Columbia River basin, as well as in tropical Africa, South America, China, Europe, Australia, and Japan.

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  • Wohl, E. 2014a. River pollution. In Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This bibliography includes works on the sources and effects of contaminants in rivers and management strategies to prevent or remediate environmental contamination. The bibliography is organized according to the types of pollutants (including pathogens), contaminant dynamics, and remediation, and it includes case studies of river basins, including the Yangtze River (China), Danube River (Europe), and Hudson River (New York).

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  • Wohl, E. 2014b. Rivers. In Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Citations covering diverse perspectives on river ecosystems are provided, including for rivers as indicators of past and present environmental conditions and as sources of ecosystem services such as drinking water and waste treatment. Books and articles on major river basins of the world are listed, and publications on river management are described.

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