Abstract: Review on processes and effects of nutrients and organic material in lakes and threats due to climate change on current adaptive management and restoration effortsLake ecosystems receive large quantities of dissolved and particulate materials from the surrounding landscape, blurring what would once have been considered clearly defined habitat boundaries. Among these materials, dissolved and particulate organic matter, derived from terrestrial primary production, have particularly profound influences on carbon and energy flow within lake ecosystems. Recognition of the importance of dissolved organic matter loading in particular has forced revision of our understanding of lake ecosystem functioning. Indeed, it has been suggested that water colour should, in addition to lake trophic status, be one of the main conceptual axes that we use to categorise lake ecosystems and understand both their functioning, and responses to external pressures.
The vast majority of the material that comprises the lake organic matter pool is in dissolved, rather than particulate, form and this dissolved pool is a complex mixture of humic and non-humic substances. For the purposes of this review, we will focus upon the effects of terrestrially-derived dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC) upon lake ecosystems. While we recognise that organic matter also contains other ecologically important chemicals and nutrients, it is fluxes of terrestrial carbon to lake systems that have received much research attention. In the review, we provide an overview of current understanding of the effects of DOC and POC upon different elements of the lake food web, and ecosystem scale processes. We then consider the likely combined effects of increasing DOC loading, eutrophication and climate change upon lake ecosystems.
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