LAKE ECOLOGY

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Any – body of standing water, generally large enough in area and depth, irrespective of its hydrology, ecology, and other characteristics is generally known as lake.

Ageing of Lakes

The nutrient enrichment of the lakes promotes the growth of algae, aquatic plants and various fauna. This process is known as natural eutrophication.

Similar nutrient enrichment of lakes at an accelerated rate is caused by human activities and the consequent ageing phenomenon is known as ‘cultural eutrophication’.

In India, natural lakes (relatively few) mostly ile in the Himalayan region, the floodplains of Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra.

Lake ‘Sudarshan’ in Gujarat’s Girnar area was perhaps the oldest man-made lake in India, dating back to 300 BC.

Lakes are also classified on the basis of their water chemistry. Based-on the levels of salinity, they are known as Freshwater, Brackish or Saline lakes (similar to that of classification of aquatic ecosystem).

On the basis of their nutrient content, they are categorized as Oligotrophic (very low nutrients), Mesotrophic (moderate nutrients) and Eutrophic (highly nutrient rich).

Removal of the nutrients from a lake

  • Flushing with nutrient-poor waters.
  • Deep water abstraction.
  • On-site P-elimination by flocculation/flotation with water backflow, or floating Plant
  • NESSIE with adsorbents.
  • On-site algae removal by filters and P-adsorbers.
  • 0n-site algae skimming and separator thickening.
  • Artificial mixing / Destratification (permanent or intermittent).
  • Harvest of fishes and macrophytes.
  • Sludge removal

EUTROPHICATION

a syndrome of ecosystem, response to the addition of artificial or natural substances such as nitrates and phosphates through fertilizer, sewage, etc that fertilize the aquatic ecosystem.

The growth of green algae which we see in the lake surface layer is the physical identification of an Eutrophication.

Some algae and blue-green bacteria thrive on the excess ions and a population explosion covers almost entire surface layer is known as algal bloom.  Nitrogen testing is a technique to find the optimum amount of fertilizer required for crop plants. It will reduce the amount of nitrogen lost to the surrounding area.

 

 

HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS

Algae or phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that can be found naturally in coastal waters. They are major producers of oxygen and food for many of the animals that live in these waters.

Algal blooms can be any color, but the most common ones are red or brown.

Most algal blooms are not harmful but some produce toxins and do affect fish, birds, marine mammals and humans.

Use of algae

Most species of algae or phytoplankton serve as the energy producers at the base of the food web, without which higher life on this planet would not exist.

Why Red Tide is a misnomer?

“Red Tide” is a common name for such a phenomenon where certain

phytoplankton species contain pigments and “bloom” such that the human eye perceives the water to be discoloured.

Blooms can appear greenish, brown, and even reddish orange depending upon the type of organism, the type of water, and the concentration of the organisms.

The term “red tide” is thus a misnomer because blooms are not always red, they are not associated with tides, they are usually not harmful, and some species can be harmful or dangerous at low cell concentrations that do not discolour the water.

What are the causes of these blooms?

Two common causes are nutrient enrichment and warm waters.

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