Lake Stechlin - an approach to understanding an oligotrophic lowland lake

Ed.: Rainer Koschel; Donald D. Adams

2003. IV, 311 pages, 130 figures, 47 tables, 16x24cm, 720 g
Language: English

(Advances in Limnology, Volume 58)

ISBN 978-3-510-47060-0, paperback, price: 68.00 €

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Lake Stechlin lowland lake Limnologie Stechlinsee


Synopsis top ↑

This current volume in the Advances in Limnology addresses new limnological studies carried out in the Lake Stechlin area and summarizes and integrates the present state of approach in various fields to understand a temperate oligotrophic lowland lake. It provides unpublished recent results from different disciplines, e.g. bacteriology, fish ecology and fishery, gas cycling, geochemistry, hydrology, limnology, phycology, paleolimnology, sedimentology, which are carefully related to previous knowledge on Lake Stechlin and other lake ecosystems. The limnological studies on Lake Stechlin, which now span a period of more than four decades, covered a large range of subjects, focused on producing a better understanding of the structure and function of an oligotrophic lowland lake in the temperate climate zone. Throughout this period, a general focus was on understanding the importance of catchment area influences, hydrometeorological conditions and nutrient loading on biocoenoses, bacterial, primary and secondary production and the water and sediment composition as well as heat, matter and water balances. The relationships between different reasonably reproduced environmental conditions and subsequent changes in lake limnology and reactions in the lake were investigated on a quasi experimental basis. Lake Stechlin has been studied extensively since 1958 by different research institutions within the bounds of special scientific collaboration programs and projects. In addition to these programs, scientists from different countries participated in Lake Stechlin research. This volume is intended to stimulate new approaches and potentials for integrative studies on lake ecology and the sustainable management of lake systems.

Bespr.: Limnologica 34, Heft 3, 2004, S. 279 top ↑

Der Stechlinsee, ein oligotropher See des norddeutschen Flachlandes, entstanden am Ende der letzten Eiszeit, ist etwa seit 1935 (abgesehen von älteren fischereilichen Nachrichten) Gegenstand limnologischer Forschung. Nach längerer Unterbrechung kam es dann seit 1959 zu kontinuierlicher Forschung an dem See. Eine erste große Zusammenfassung der bis dahin erbrachten Ergebnisse erschien 1985 [S. J. CASPER (ed.), Lake Stechlin ­ a temperate oligotrophic lake]. Seitdem intensivierten sich die Untersuchungen noch, und dies auch mit internationaler Beteiligung. Der vorliegende Band der Advances in Limnology" vervollständigt mit neuen Ergebnissen das bereits erarbeitete Wissen über den Stechlinsee und liefert zugleich einen wichtigen Beitrag zum gegenwärtigen Stand der Limnologie. An dieser zweiten Zusammenfassung sind 31 Autoren beteiligt. Ihre Artikel sind in Form selbständiger Arbeiten publiziert.

Hier die Schwerpunkte: Wasserbilanz des Sees mit Hilfe der Chloridmethode; Einfluß eines Kanals, der den Stechlinsee mit einem anderen See (Nehmitzsee) verbindet, auf die Wasserbilanz; Sulfatreduktion in den Sedimenten des Sees; Produktion von Methan, Kohlendioxid und Stickstoff im Sediment und Diffusion in Richtung Pelagial; Änderungen der Phosphorakkumulation und des Sauerstoffverbrauches im See; P-Nutzung durch das Plankton; Ergebnisse siebenjähriger Untersuchungen über die Variabilität der Zusammensetzung des Phytoplanktons; räumliche und zeitliche Abundanzmuster planktischer Diatomeen im Vergleich mit dem PEG-Modell; über den Dimorphismus der Kieselalge Cyclotella pseudocomensis; Blaualgen-Maxima in der Seetiefe im Vergleich mit entsprechenden tropischen Seen; Verteilung des kaltstenothermen calanoiden Copepoden Eurytemora lacustris im See; Wachstum, Besatz und Nahrungsökologie der Fische des Stechlinsees, speziell auch Coregonus albula; Analyse von Bohrkernen bis über 6 m Sedimenttiefe (bis zum Alleröd), bei der verschiedene chemische Elemente und die Pollenstratigraphie erfasst wurden.

Es kann als Glücksumstand für die Limnologie gelten, dass ein so interessanter See, wie es der Stechlinsee ist, schon so lange und intensiv erforscht werden konnte. Die nun schon 44 Jahre andauernde kontinuierliche Forschung an diesem See, an der sich auch ein Stück der Geschichte der Limnologie ablesen lässt, wurde im letzten Jahrzehnt noch verstärkt, wie der vorliegende Band eindrucksvoll beweist. In dieser Zeit wurde die ehemalige Forschungsstation am Stechlinsee zu einer leistungsstarken Institution ausgebaut.


Limnologica 34, Heft 3, 2004, S. 279

Bespr.: SIL news vol. 44, Jan. 2005, p. 9 top ↑

Limnologists have studied only a few of the millions of lakes on the planet in any great detail and for any length of time. These few lakes are particularly important to our discipline, because they provide links between the comparative and historical approaches, and they are the systems where we can integrate what we know about the parts of lake ecosystems to gain an understanding of the whole. The importance of these few lakes is enhanced when the existing information is summarized in a monograph, a special journal issue or a collection of papers.

Lake Stechlin, the subject of over 500 scientific publications and 45 years of research when this volume was published in 2003, deserves to be listed among these relatively well-known lakes that we turn to when we want to put our results into context. However, Lake Stechlin was not a lake whose name I recognized from the other side of the Atlantic before reading this volume, edited by Rainer Koschel and Donald D. Adams. The objective of the book, paraphrased from the editors preface, is to present new limnological studies on the lake, summarize its present state and functioning, and stimulate growth of ideas and new research. There is also considerable information about the history of the lake on historical and geological time scales. While the editors do not claim it to be a complete review, it is a good entry point to the literature on Lake Stechlin. The publication of this volume is timely, following the creation of a new building and laboratory in 2002 for the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries on the lake s southern shore. Like other special issues in the Advances in Limnology series, it is a collected volume. The papers are in a logical order, but each is a self-contained unit that could have been published on its own. Accordingly, there is a high degree of redundancy in the background information provided in the papers. That does not detract too much, even on reading it from start to finish. Many readers will choose chapters relevant to their work, and will benefit from the redundancy.

The preface by the editors introduces us a briefly to the lake, its human history and its cultural value. Lake Stechlin is medium-sized (4.23 km 2 ), deep (69.5 m), meso-oligotrophic (TP 13.8), temperate (53° 10 N) lake in glaciated northern Germany. From 1966 to 1989 it received 300,000 m 3 d -1 of cooling water from a nuclear power plant, the water having been drawn from a more eutrophic lake nearby. Otherwise, human impacts have a long history, but their effects have not been excessive. Much of its basin is forested and natural mechanisms have helped buffer the perturbations; one focus of the book is those buffering mechanisms and the long-term prognosis for the ecosystem.

The second and third papers in this volume are on water balance. This is a difficult problem in Lake Stechlin, as it has no surface inflows and outflows, save an artificial outflow (the Pozlow Canal) that was dug for navigation in the 18 th century and re-opened and modified during the operation of the nuclear power plant. The lake occupies a relatively flat basin with poorly-defined boundaries in permeable glacial deposits. The paper by Nützman et al. develops water budgets using several methods, including a chloride budget, leading to an estimate of recharge sufficient to replace the water in 60 years. The following paper by Holzbecher deals with how subsurface watershed boundaries and flows were altered by the construction of the canal and its modification during the operation of the power plant.

The next three papers are related to trophic status, as reflected by redox conditions in the sediment, hypolimetic oxygen concentrations, and internal loading. The first by Sass et al. deals with sulfate reduction in the sediments, including its vertical extent, the bacteria responsible, and controlling factors. The second by Caspar et al. describes sediment profiles and fluxes of CH 4 , CO 2 and N 2 . The problem of bubble formation and its contribution to fluxes is one of the issues dealt with in some detail. The final paper in this trio, by Gonsiorczyk et al., describes oxygen consumption and SRP accumulation in the hypolimnion, and provides evidence that both processes are increasing despite decreases in P-loading and no change in areal rate of O 2 consumption. Together they make a good contribution to understanding the internal regulation of redox conditions at the sediment-water interface and the balance between sediments as a P sink or source.

Nedoma et al. have the only paper on nutrient utilization, and take a comparative approach using two nearby lakes that are eutrophic. Their paper focuses on utilization of DOP using 32 P-labelled nucleotide and non-nucleotide substrates. There are few data; one experiment on each lake, one week apart during late August to mid-September; so any conclusions about differences between lakes and substrates are tentative. Nonetheless, the authors raise the interesting hypothesis that the fates of nucleotides and non-nucleotide DOP differ, with the former used mainly by bacteria and the latter by phytoplankton.

Four papers follow on phytoplankton, mostly exploiting an intensive sampling program; seven years of phytoplankton community composition and biomass, collected weekly throughout the year at three depths, with accompanying environmental and zooplankton data. The lead author on three of the papers is J. Padisák from the University of Veszprém, Hungary. The first paper deals with inter-annual variation, the second focuses on development and decline of the spring diatom bloom, the third by Scheffler et al. investigates dimorphism in one of the dominant centric diatoms, and the last deals with cyanoprokaryote maxima in the upper hypolimnion. This last chapter is unique in the collection for including a brief review across many lakes and comparison with some Brazilian lakes. Together these papers make some sobering points for those of us used to doing quick studies in fair weather: history is important, and present communities depend on past conditions as well as current ones; winter is important, even for understanding phytoplankton in summer; and the hypolimnion is important, even for understanding epilimnetic populations. Otherwise less important species ascend to dominance occasionally in Lake Stechlin, with strong effects on the rest of the biota and on biogeochemical cycles, but the causes of their temporary success are not readily understood even with such a good data set.

The only paper dealing primarily with zooplankton is by Weiler et al. and concerns the habitat requirements of Eurytemora lacustris. They argue that this copepod is a cold stenotherm, inhabiting only lakes deep enough to have an oxygenated hypolimnion, and that its presence in the adjacent Lake Nehmitz was only during the operation of a nuclear power plant that caused water to be drawn from Lake Stechlin into Lake Nehmitz. The paper provides the crustacean species list for both lakes, and information about seasonality and vertical migration. While this is the only zooplankton chapter, zooplankton biomass data are presented in the paper by Padisák et al. on phytoplankton inter-annual variability and in the following chapter by Schulz et al. on the feeding of planktivorous vendace (Coregonus albula). Schulz et al. provide data on species composition and annual succession as well. Their major finding is that vendace exhibit a strong selection for cladocerans whenever they are available. The predatory Cladocera Bythotrephes and Leptodora are evident in the diet even when they are not abundant enough to be quantified in zooplankton samples. The data also suggest the existence of two separate vendace populations, morphologically indistinguishable but with a different depth distribution, diet and growth.

The next two papers also focus on fish. Mehner et al. compare estimates of fish density and biomass during June by two independent crews using the same echo sounding technology. The paper is centred on methodology, but it does present data on abundance, biomass, size distribution of pelagic fish, and even a little biology. Anwand et al. provide a basic study of species composition, growth and feeding ecology of the fish community. This is a brief chapter, summarizing what little is known about the past fish community, the present community, and feeding as determined by collections on one date in August for two different years. Size-at-age data are also presented. Overall, the growth of fish appears to be rather slow. Perch are the exception; they grow well after reaching sufficient size to become pelagic piscivores, filling an otherwise empty niche.

The last two papers deal with paleolimnological record, reporting on different aspects of three sediment cores from different depths. The longest core from the middle of the deepest basin was 631 cm, although this core did not cover the longest history. A shorter core from a shallower site covered 13,000 years. Röper and Schwarz report on elemental and mineral analyses that indicate periods of increased trophic status (less oxic conditions near the sediment, more calcite deposition), allochthonous inputs (TOC:N), erosion (quartz) and metal deposition (several anthropogenic metals). It appears from these cores that Lake Stechlin has maintained its oligotrophic character over its entire history, but there have been periods of greater productivity and reducing conditions. The final paper by Brande presents microfossil, mostly pollen, stratigraphy of Lake Stechlin documenting changes in the surrounding forest, human influences (both ancient and modern), and changes within the lake, for example in macrophytes and mollusc communities.

The book has the shortcomings one expects to one degree or another in a collected volume. Some topics are missed entirely (benthos, productivity at trophic levels other than fish, circulation), while coverage of others is uneven. Better integration of the material in the different chapters could have increased the overall value of the book. Without that, it falls short of elucidating an approach to understanding . The book does fulfill its objectives of introducing the lake, and providing a selection of current research. It also appears to be an excellent portal to previous work on the lake.

While reading Lake Stechlin, I often considered what it would be like to teach a course in limnology from a collection of research papers dealing with a single lake. This is clearly beyond what the editors intended, but this collection could be a good focus for such a course, with just a little more breadth that could be achieved by adding a few papers already published separately. Going cover to cover forced me to read more broadly than I otherwise would; it was a learning experience and often caused me to think about my own research interests from a different perspective. I am sure that I will revisit this book often, and recommend it to anyone with an interest in temperate lakes.

William Taylor University of Waterloo, Canada

SIL news vol. 44, Jan. 2005, p. 9

Contents top ↑

Koschel, R. & Adams, D.D.: An approach to understanding a temperate
oligotrophic lowland lake (Lake Stechlin, Germany) (with 5
figures and 3 tables)
Nützmann, G., Holzbecher, E. & Pekdeger, A.: Evaluation of the water
balance of Lake Stechlin with the help of chloride data (with 4
figures and 1 table)
Holzbecher, E.: Effects on subsurface water sheds from the
construction of the Polzow Canal (with 4 figures and 2 tables)
Sass, H., Babenzien, Ch. & Babenzien, H.-D.: Sulfate reduction in
sediments of the oligotrophic Lake Stechlin (with 5 figures and
3 tables)
Casper, P., Furtado, A.L.S. & Adams, D.D.: Biogeochemistry and diffuse
fluxes of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) and
dinitrogen from the sediments of oligotrophic Lake Stechlin,
northern Germany (with 5 figures and 3 tables)
Gonsiorczyk, T., Casper, P. & Koschel, R.: Long-term development of
the phosphorus accumulation and oxygen-consumption in the
hypolimnion of oligotrophic Lake Stechlin and seasonal
variations in the pore water chemistry of the profundal
sediments (with 6 figures)
Nedoma, J., Padisák, J. & Koschel, R.: Utilisation of 32P-labelled
nucleotide and non-nucleotide dissolved organic phosphorus by
freshwater plankton (with 3 figures and 3 tables)

Padisák, J., Scheffler, W., Kasprzak, P., Koschel, R. & Krienitz, L.:
Interannual variability in the phytoplankton composition of Lake
Stechlin (1994--2000) (with 10 figures and 2 tables)
Padisák, J., Scheffler, W., SÍpos, C., Kasprzak, P., Koschel, R. &
Krienitz, L.: Spatial and temporal pattern of development and
decline of the spring diatom populations in Lake Stechlin in
1999 (with 11 figures)
Scheffler, W., Nicklisch, A. & Hepperle, D.: Dimorphism in Cyclotella
pseudocomensis (Heterokontophyta, Bacillariophyceae) as revealed
by morphological, ecological and molecular methods (with 29
figures and 3 tables)
Padisák, J., Barbosa, F., Koschel, R. & Krienitz, L.: Deep layer
cyanoprokaryota maxima in temperate and tropical lakes (with 9
figures and 3 tables)
Weiler, W.,Kasprzak, P., Schulz, M. & Flössner, D.: Habitat
requirements of Eurytemora lacustris (Copepoda, Calanoida) and
implications for its distribution (with 4 figures and 3 tables)
Schulz, M., Kasprzak, P.,Anwand, K. & Mehner, T.: Diet composition and
food preference of vendace (Coregonus albula (L.)) in response
to seasonal zooplankton succession in Lake Stechlin (with 5
figures and 3 tables)
Mehner, T., Gassner, H., Schulz, M. & Wanzenböck, J.: Comparative fish
stock estimates in Lake Stechlin by parallel split-beam
echosounding with 120 kHz (with 4 figures and 2 tables)
Anwand, K., Valentin, M. & Mehner, T.: Species composition, growth and
feeding ecology of fish community in Lake Stechlin -- an
overview (with 4 figures and 3 tables)
Röper, H.-P. & Schwarz, S.: Late Pleistocene and Holocene sediment
characteristics of Lake Stechlin, with particular references to
manganese enrichment (with 12 figures and 7 tables)
Brande, A.: Late Pleistocene and Holocene pollen stratigraphy of Lake
Stechlin (with 10 figures and 6 tables)