Hypolimnetic oxygen depletion in eutrophic lakes

Beat Müller, L Bryant, Andreas Matzinger, Alfred Wüest

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172 Citations (SciVal)


The oxygen-consuming processes in the hypolimnia of freshwater lakes leading to deep-water anoxia are still not well understood, thereby constraining suitable management concepts. This study presents data obtained from 11 eutrophic lakes and suggests a model describing the consumption of dissolved oxygen (O2) in the hypolimnia of eutrophic lakes as a result of only two fundamental processes: O2 is consumed (i) by settled organic material at the sediment surface and (ii) by reduced substances diffusing from the sediment. Apart from a lake’s productivity, its benthic O2 consumption depends on the O2 concentration in the water overlying the sediment and the molecular O2 diffusion to the sediment. On the basis of observational evidence of long-term monitoring data from 11 eutrophic lakes, we found that the areal hypolimnetic mineralization rate ranging from 0.47 to 1.31 g of O2 m–2 d–1 (average 0.90 ± 0.30) is a function of (i) a benthic flux of reduced substances (0.37 ± 0.12 g of O2 m–2 d–1) and (ii) an O2 consumption which linearly increases with the mean hypolimnion thickness (zH) up to 25 m. This model has important implications for predicting and interpreting the response of lakes and reservoirs to restoration measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9964-9971
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2012


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