Lake-wide phytoplankton production and abundance in the Upper Great Lakes: 2010–2013

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Lake-wide phytoplankton chlorophyll a concentrations and primary production were determined for lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior in 2010–2013. Chlorophyll aconcentrations were determined using MODIS imagery with a color-producing agent algorithm and primary production with the Great Lakes Production Model using remotely sensed and empirically derived input from the Upper Great Lakes. The new chlorophyll aand primary production estimates agreed well with field measurements. Lake-wide mean chlorophyll a concentrations determined from observations in all 12 months were highest in Lake Superior (mean = 0.99 mg/m3), intermediate in Lake Michigan (mean = 0.88 mg/m3), and lowest in Lake Huron (mean = 0.77 mg/m3). In Lake Superior, a gradient in chlorophyll aconcentrations was noted from the shallow zone (0–30 m, mean = 1.57 mg/m3) to the deep-water zone (> 150 m, mean = 0.94 mg/m3). However, in Lake Michigan, no differences in mean chlorophyll a concentrations were noted in shallow-, mid-, or deep-water zones (means, 0.83, 0.86, 0.90 mg/m3, respectively). Lake-wide areal integrated primary production rates in lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior were not significantly different for the 2010–2013 period (means, 216, 259, and 228 mg C/m2/d, respectively). Also, primary production in all depth zones (shallow, mid, and deep) were similar across lakes. Annual whole-lake phytoplankton carbon fixation values for 2010–2013 ranged from 4.4 to 5.7 Tg/y for Lake Huron, 5.0–7.2 Tg/y for Lake Michigan, and 6.4–9.5 Tg/y for Lake Superior.

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© 2016 International Association for Great Lakes Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2016.02.004

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Journal of Great Lakes Research