Short-term variability of spatial heterogeneity of submersed macrophyte biovolume (percent of water column occupied by vegetation) was evaluated over 3 years along a gradient of productivity in four north temperate glacial lakes in Minnesota, USA. We hypothesized we would observe the lowest among-year variability in spatial heterogeneity of biovolume in our undisturbed, moderately productive lake and high variability in our more locally disturbed productive lakes. Our analysis involved three major steps: first, we removed negative trends of biovolume across depth with non-parametric regression smoothers; second, we examined spatial pattern in residuals using variograms; finally, we compared spatial pattern of biovolume among lakes seasonally, over 3 years. Lake productivity negatively correlated with water clarity and the depth range of macrophyte growth, and positively correlated with the variability of spatial patterns. In the least disturbed moderately productive lake, vegetation grew over a large range of depths (up to 7.5 m), and spatial pattern across the littoral zone was similar for each survey. In contrast, in the more turbid, productive lakes, depth and spatial patterns of biovolume varied greatly from survey to survey. Factors that increase productivity and weaken resilience in lakes may lead to unstable spatial patterns of macrophyte biovolume.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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