US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

North Temperate Lakes LTER: Northern Highlands Stream Chemistry Survey 2006

We compared regional patterns in lake and stream biogeochemistry in the Northern Highlands Lake District (NHLD), Wisconsin, USA to ask how regional biogeochemistry differs as a function of the type of ecosystem considered (i.e., lakes versus streams); if lake-stream comparisons reveal regional patterns and processes that are not apparent from studies of a single ecosystem type; and if characteristics of streams and lakes scale similarly. Fifty-two streams were sampled using a stratified random design to determine regional distribution of 21 water chemistry variables during summer baseflow conditions.Sampling Frequency: once per site Number of sites: 52
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Site SelectionBecause lakes are a dominant feature of the region and stream characteristics could potentially differ based on their hydrologic connections to lakes, we classified streams into three categories as a function of their hydrologic connections to lakes. The first category was streams that had no lakes within the drainage network upstream of the sampling location. The second category was streams that originated from headwater lakes (i.e., no stream inlet but a stream outlet) and the headwater lake was the only lake in the drainage network above the sampling location. The final category had at least a single drainage lake (i.e., a lake with both stream inlet(s) and outlet) in the drainage network above the sampling location. We then used these categories to select sampling sites using a stratified random design for a variety of chemical and physical characteristics.All streams identified on 1:24,000 7.5 inch USGS topographical maps that crossed access points were selected as potential sampling locations and assigned to one of the three stream types. A stream could be classified by more than a single category depending on the sampling location within the drainage network. However, a single drainage network was never sampled more than once to ensure sample independence. Of the 500 possible sampling locations, 52 sites were selected and sampled.SamplingAll streams were sampled 7-10 channel widths upstream of an access point to minimize any influences caused by culverts and other features. Water samples were collected from the center of the channel using a peristaltic pump. Stream discharge was measured after Gore (2007) using cross sectional area and water velocity.Chemical AnalysesAll samples for both studies were collected and processed following the North Temperate Long Term Ecological Research (NTL-LTER) protocols ( Filtering was done in the field using an in-line 0.45 μm membrane filter. All samples were stored on ice and returned to the laboratory where they were preserved according to NTL-LTER protocols. Acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) was determined by Gran titration (APHA 2005). DOC was measured on a Shimadzu TOC-V carbon analyzer. Total nitrogen and phosphorus (unfiltered, TN and TP; filtered, TDN and TDP), nitrate+nitrite (NO3-N), and ammonium (NH4-N) were quantified with an Astoria-Pacific segmented flow auto-analyzer. Soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) in streams was measured colormetrically on a Beckman DU-800 spectrophotometer (APHA 2005). Anions (Cl- and SO4 2-) were measured using a Dionix DX-500 ion chromatograph and cations (Ca, Mg, Na, K, Fe, K, and Mn) on a Perkin Elmer ICP mass spectrometerDissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and pH were quantified differently in the lakes and stream data sets. For the lakes data, DIC was determined with a Shimadzu TOC-V carbon analyzer, whereas DIC for the streams dataset was determined by headspace equilibration of acidified water samples in the field and direct measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas on a Shimadzu gas chromatograph (Cole et al. 1994). pH measurements for the lakes dataset were quantified on non-air equilibrated samples in the lab with a Accumet 950 pH meter while direct measurements were taken in the field for the streams dataset using a hand-held Orion model 266 pH meter that was allowed to equilibrated about 20 min in the center for the stream channel.Several variables presented in this study were determined from calculations based on measured values. In streams, dissolved organic nitrogen and phosphorus (DON and DOP, respectively) were determined by the difference between inorganic nutrients and total dissolved nutrients (e.g., DOP = TDP-SRP). We were unable to determine DON in lakes due to the lack of inorganic nitrogen data. It was assumed that DOP approximately equals TDP in lakes because dissolved inorganic phosphorus concentrations in the region are typically below detection limits in the epilimnion during the summer months and consequently not quantified (NTL-LTER unpublished data).
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