On biogenic turbulence production and mixing from vertically migrating zooplankton in lakes

Stefano Simoncelli, Stephen J. Thackeray, Danielle Wain

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Vertical mixing in lakes is a key driver of transport of ecologically important dissolved constituents, such as oxygen and nutrients. In this study we focus our attention on biomixing, which refers to the contribution of living organisms towards the turbulence and mixing of oceans and lakes. While several studies of biomixing in the ocean have been conducted, no in situ studies exist that assess the turbulence induced by freshwater zooplanktonic organisms under real environmental conditions. Here, turbulence is sampled during three different sampling days during the sunset diel vertical migration of Daphnia spp. in a small man-made lake. This common genus may create hydrodynamic disturbances in the lake interior where the thermal stratification usually suppresses the vertical diffusion. Concurrent biological sampling assessed the zooplankton vertical concentration profile. An acoustic-Doppler current profiler was also used to track zooplankton concentration and migration via the backscatter strength. Our datasets do not show biologically-enhanced dissipation rates of temperature variance and turbulent kinetic energy in the lake interior, despite Daphnia concentrations as high as 60 org. L−1. No large and significant turbulent patches were created within the migrating layer to generate irreversible mixing. This suggests that Daphnia do not affect the mixing in the lake at the organism concentrations observed here.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Sciences: Research Across Boundaries
Issue number35
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2018


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