Freshwater Biology, August 2004, Vol.49(8), pp.1062-1071
1. Lakes formed in mining pits often contain high concentrations of dissolved ferric iron and sulphate (e.g. 2 and 16 mmol L, respectively) and the pH is buffered between 2.5 and 3.5. Efforts to neutralise their water are based on the stimulation of lake internal, bacterial iron‐ and sulphate reduction. Electron donors may be supplied by organic carbon compounds or indirectly by enhancement of primary production. Here, we investigated the function of mixotrophic algae, which can potentially supplement or deplete the organic carbon pool, in the carbon metabolism and alkalinity budget of an acidic mining lake. 2. Two weeks after organic substrates had been added in a large mesocosm of 30 m diameter, a bloom of occurred, reaching a biovolume of 80 mm L. Growth experiments using filtered lake water showed that the alga reduced the overall dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration despite significant photosynthetic activity. However, when were grown together with natural bacterioplankton, net DOC consumption did not increase. 3. Uptake experiments using [C]‐glucose indicated that bacteria dominated glucose uptake and remineralisation. Therefore, the DOC leached in the water column was processed mainly by planktonic bacteria. Leached DOC must be regarded as loss, not transferred by larger organisms to the sediment, where reduction processes take place. 4. From phytoplankton biomass and production 2 years after fertilisation we estimated that pelagic photosynthesis does not supply an electron donor capacity capable of reducing more than 2% of actual stock of acidity per year. We estimated that only the benthic primary production was in a range to compensate for ongoing inputs of iron and sulphate.
Acidic ; Chlamydomonas ; Mining Lakes ; Mixotrophic ; Organic Carbon