Original paper

Retention and early diagenetic transformation of phosphorus in Lake Arendsee (Germany) - consequences for management strategies

Hupfer, Michael; Lewandowski, Jörg


Repeated sediment core investigations over one decade, mass balance calculations, and vertical flux measurements by traps and dialysis samplers, were used to determine P retention rates, release potential, and early diagenetic transformation processes in the sediment of Lake Arendsee (Germany). Sediment cores were dated by varve counting, by 137cesium, and by a distinct layer originating from a restoration attempt in 1995, which involved the capping of the sediment with calcium rich material from the lake shore. P retention rates and the internal P cycle have not been altered by the sediment capping. The sharp decline of total P content within the first two centimeters of the sediment shows that diagenetic P mobilization is a rapid process. The temporary P pool in the sediment, calculated from core analysis (mean ± SE: 709 ± 82 mg m-2, n = 7), was small compared to the rates of hypolimnetic SRP increase (10.7 ± 0.45 mg m-2 d-1, 1992–1997) and total P losses in the epilimnion caused by sedimentation (11.7 ± 0.53 mg m-2 d-1, 1992–1997), both of the latter calculated by mass balances during summer stratification. Without additional supply of freshly settled material, the temporary P pool in the sediment would be exhausted in less than three months. The fast P release of freshly settled material was also demonstrated during summer by the three times higher vertical P sedimentation rates calculated on the basis of mass balance data, compared to rates determined on the basis of cylindrical traps, in which some P was released during four weeks exposure time. The driving process for the rapid P release in Lake Arendsee is the remineralisation of organic P. This study demonstrates that high hypolimnetic P accumulation rates are not always correlated with a large total or potentially mobile P pool in the sediment. In lakes with small temporary P pools in the sediment, a decrease of P in the water body would immediately decrease the hypolimnetic P accumulation in summer; capping or dredging as in-lake measures are ineffective in such lakes.


eutrophicationinternal phosphorus loadphosphorus speciationphosphorus diagenesislake restoration