Comparative studies of underwater light regimes in lakes of the East-Suwałki Lakeland

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Abstract

Secchi disc transparency and optical properties of water, based on measurements for downward irradiance using an underwater radiometer PER-700, were studied in 23 lakes of the Suwałki Landscape Park (SLP) in 2013. Measurements of optically significant constituents of water were also performed (YSI EXO-2) and analysed. Data on water transparency from published studies were used to assess long-term changes in the optical conditions in the deepest water body in Poland – Lake Hańcza. In terms of the optical characteristics of the water, the analysed SLP lakes can essentially be divided into two distinct groups representing different optical lake types. These are optical categories of lakes most common in Poland, namely types II and IIIb. Regional equations describing the relationships between the attenuation coefficient for downward irradiance as well as optically significant constituents of water were developed. The optical properties of the SLP lakes are mainly affected by suspended solids, mostly phytoplankton. Interannual fluctuations in Sechi disc transparency, as well as the attenuation coefficient for downward irradiance and other apparent optical properties of mid-summer water calculated from it, are determined by the spring thermal conditions and intensity of phytoplankton blooms during this period. Application of the attenuation coefficient for downward irradiance as a criterion for the assessment of the trophic status of the SLP lakes indicates that these are generally eutrophic lakes. The largest and deepest lakes of the park, however, are mesotrophic. Lake Hańcza is currently in the stage of α-mesotrophy.

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