The polar regions at the Northern hemisphere have myriads of freshwater lakes that are integrated parts of the polar biome and thus are irrevocable sites for many ecosystem processes.
Arctic lakes are unique in a number of ways. The most obvious being the physical and chemical conditions that often imply a very harsh environment with low nutrient variability, low temperatures, long ice coverage and highly variable microclimate. The biodiversity as well as productivity of species in such lakes is often low and the food web structures often simple. This implies that arctic lakes are vulnerable to disturbance – of almost any kind (air pollution, over exploitation, acidification, eutrophication and climate changes).
Freshwater lakes are essential in many ways as they provide breeding habitats for birds, are the nursing ground for many insect larval stages, host valuable fish populations (salmon, charr and trout), act as buffer zones for melt waters, provides drinking water and transportation corridors for wild life and humans.
Recent studies have shown that the coupling between pelagic and benthic food webs in arctic aquatic environments is very important for the cycling of organic matter. It is also clear that the low productivity of most Arctic lakes forces the biota to a very efficient utilization of recourses and that prey-predator interactions work in a strong manner.
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Saturday, 30 December 2006 06:00
NORLAKES 4 Future: circumpolar freshwater lake research and data managementWritten by Administrator
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