Hamilton, S. K., D. A. Bruesewitz, G. P. Horst, and O. Sarnelle. 2009. Biogenic calcite-phosphorus precipitation as a negative feedback to lake eutrophication. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 66:343-350.

Citable PDF link: https://lter.kbs.msu.edu/pub/2203

Lakes in carbonate-rich watersheds commonly precipitate calcium carbonate as calcite, and this is accelerated by photosynthetic uptake of carbon dioxide. Co-precipitation of phosphate with calcite is one reason that algal growth in such lakes tends to be strongly phosphorus (P) limited. The extent to which calcite precipitation can be a sink for added P, and thus act as a potential negative feedback to eutrophication, was demonstrated using large enclosures within a Michigan lake. Nitrogen and P were added over 45 days in the summer to produce mesotrophic and eutrophic conditions. Algal biomass and production increased markedly with the nutrient additions, elevating the pH (9–10) and greatly increasing calcite precipitation, reducing concentrations of calcium and alkalinity by up to 60%. Sediment traps indicated that calcite sedimentation was a major sink for added P. By the end of the experiment, only about half of the added P remained in the water column. Major ion concentrations in a larger set of Michigan lakes showed calcite precipitation to be widespread, reflecting the abundant carbonate minerals in this glacial region.

DOI: 10.1139/F09-003

Associated Treatment Areas:

KBS Landscape Aquatic sites

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