Algae, Algae, All Year 'Round!

Lakes behave differently in the winter than in the summer. We’ve already explored some of the physical differences in our Stratification article (Spring 2002 Waterline), now let’s discuss of some of the biological differences between the seasons. Specifically, what happens to the algae and the zooplankton

Turnover
During turnover, the whole water column is approximately the same temperature. The lake “turns over” because the water mixes from top to bottom. Algae are diluted and mixed throughout the entire water column. Because of this mixing, the algae are exposed to sunlight only occasionally (depending upon lake depth and clarity). The available nutrients and oxygen are distributed throughout the entire water column. The sediments release very little phosphorus in the presence of oxygen, so there is no internal loading of phosphorus during turnover.

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