Some Relationships Between Sedimentary Trace Metal Concentrations and Freshwater Phytoplankton and Sedimentary Diatom Species Composition

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Vogel, Allan Hayes
Portland State University Library
Trace elements; Lake sediments -- Oregon; Diatoms -- Oregon; Environmental Monitoring
report description
Sediments from 21 Oregon lakes were analyzed for seven metals (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Co, Ni, V) in three forms (exchangeable, organic+sulfides, and oxyhydroxides+ oxides+ carbonates) using a sequential fractionation procedure. The summer epilimnetic filterable concentration of an eighth (Mo) was also determined. Sedimentary diatom remains and summer phytoplankton populations of the lakes were correlated with the 22 metal parameters and with conservative water chemistry parameters, estimators of lake productivity, and watershed geology. Both the sedimentary metals and the two populations of primary producers correlated best with the ecoregions of Omernik and Gallant (1986). A number of species possessed correlations with specific trace metal extractions or ratios of those extractions. Bloom-forming Anabaenas strongly correlated with sedimentary organic and filterable epilimnetic nickel. Possible Ni limitation of this group was observed in one Cascade lake (Lava). The ratio of organic nickel to cobalt appeared to control the abundance of several sedimentary diatoms. Organic vanadium strongly correlated with a number of diatoms, particularly in the genera, Cyclotella and Fragilaria. Possible V pollution was observed in one lake (Woahink), and frustule remains of C. stelligera significantly increased with increasing total sedimentary V concentrations there. Zinc was the trace metal most frequently found to apparently limit diatom growth. Diatoms may have developed three different responses to Zn limitation; the three groups have been labelled affinity-, velocity-, and (possibly) storage- specialists following Sommer (1985). Possible Zn pollution was observed in two lakes (Oswego and Clear). Phytoplankton and sedimentary diatoms weakly correlated with sedimentary iron by comparison to Ni, V, or Zn. Few strong relationships were observed with manganese, copper, or cobalt. No statistically significant correlations were found with molybdenum, and few correlations between a conservative chemical parameter and a species of phytoplankton were found. There was poor correlation between trace metal concentrations and lake productivity, despite frequently observed correlations between individual species and particular trace metal fractions. These findings suggest that variations in absolute trace metal concentrations, and/or ratios, may be important factors for controlling species distribution, but have relatively little influence upon lake primary productivity or standing stocks.