Interrelationship between nutrients and chlorophyll-a in an urban stormwater lake during the ice-covered period

Main Article Content

Kejian Chu, Dr.
Yuntong She, Dr.
Jeff Kemp, Dr.
Mark Loewen
Evan Davies, Dr.


Urban stormwater lakes in cold regions are ice-covered for substantial parts of the winter. It has long been considered that the ice-covered period is the “dormant season,” during which ecological processes are inactive. However, little is known about this period due to the historical focus on the open-water season. Recent pioneering research on ice-covered natural lakes has suggested that some critical ecological processes play out on the ice. The objective of this study was to investigate the active processes in ice-covered stormwater lakes. Data collected during a two-year field measurement program at a stormwater lake located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada were analyzed. The lake was covered by ice from November to mid-April of the following year. The mean value of chlorophyll-a during the ice-covered period was 22.09% of the mean value for the open-water season, suggesting that primary productivity under ice can be important. Nitrogen and phosphorus were remarkably higher during the ice-covered period, while dissolved organic carbon showed little seasonal variation. Under ice-covered conditions, the total phosphorus was the major nutrient controlling the ratio of total nitrogen to total phosphorus, and a significant positive correlation existed between total phosphorus and chlorophyll-a when the ratio was smaller than 10. The results provide preliminary evidence of the critical nutrient processes in the Stormwater Lake during the ice-covered period.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chu, K., She, Y., Kemp, J., Loewen, M., & Davies, E. (2017). Interrelationship between nutrients and chlorophyll-a in an urban stormwater lake during the ice-covered period. International Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 1(3), 24-30.


American Water Works Association. (1999). TP Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 20th Ed, 4500-P.

American Water Works Association. (2004). TN Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 22nd Ed, 4500-N-B.

Babanazarova, O., Sidelev, S., Schischeleva, S. (2013). “The structure of winter phytoplankton in Lake Nero, Russia, a hypertrophic lake dominated by Planktothrix-like Cyanobacteria”. Aquatic Biosystems, 9(18). doi: 10.1186/2046-9063-9-18.

Bertilsson, S., Burgin A., Carey C., Fey S., Grossart, P., Grubisic, L., Jones, I., Kirillin, G., Lennon, J., Shade, A., Smyth, R. (2013). “The under-ice micro biome of seasonally frozen lakes” Limnol. Oceanogr, 58 (6), 1998-2013.

Bratt, A. R., Finlay, J. C., Hobbie, S. E., Janke, B. D., Worm, A. C., Kemmitt, K. L. (2017). “Contribution of leaf litter to nutrient export during winter months in an urban residential watershed.” Environmental Science & Technology,51(6),3138–3147.

Griffiths, K., Michelutti, N., Sugar, M., Douglas, M., Smol, J. (2017). “Ice-cover is the principal driver of ecological change in High Arctic lakes and lakes.” PLOS ONE, 12(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172989.

Hampton, S., Moore, M., Ozersky T., Stanley, E., Polashenski, C., Galloway, A. (2015). “HORIZONS heating up a cold subject: prospects for under-ice plankton research in lakes.” J. Plankton Res, 37(2), 277–284.

Hampton, S., Galloway, A., Powers, S., Ozersky, T., Woo, K., Batt, R., Labou, S., O’Reilly, C., Sharma, S., Lottig, N., Stanley, E., North, R., Stockwell, J., et al. (2017). “Ecology under lake ice.” Ecology Letters, 20, 98–111.

Lenard, T., Wojciechowska, W. (2013). “Phytoplankton diversity and biomass during winter with and without ice cover in the context of climate change.” Polish Journal of Ecology, 61, 739–748.

Marsalek, P. M., Watt, W. E., Marsalek, J., Anderson B. C. (2000). “Winter flow dynamics of an on-stream stormwater management pond.” Water Qual. Res. J. Canada, 35(3), 505-523.

Marsalek, P. M., Watt, W. E., Marsalek, J., Anderson B. C. (2003). “Winter operation of an on-stream stormwater management pond.” Water Science and Technology, 48(9), 133-143.

Oberts, G.L., Marsalek, J., Viklander, M. (2000). “Review of water quality impacts of winter operation of urban drainage.” Water Qual. Res. J. Canada, 35(4), 881-808.

Ozkundakci, D., Gsell, A.S., Hintze, T., Tauscher, H., Adrian, R. (2016). “Winter severity determines functional trait composition of phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered lakes.” Glob. Change Biol, 22, 284-298.

Salonen, K., Lepparanta, M., Viljanen, M., Gulati, R. (2009). “Perspectives in winter limnology: closing the annual cycle of freezing lakes.” Aquat. Ecol , 43, 609–616.

Semadeni-Davies, A. (2006). “Winter performance of an urban stormwater pond in southern Sweden.” Hydrol. The process,20, 165–182.

Sommer, U., Gliwicz, M., Lampert, W., Duncan A. (1986). “The PEG-model of seasonal succession of planktonic events in fresh waters.” Arch. Hydrobiol., 106(4), 433–471.

Schröder, A. (2013). “Density-and size-dependent winter mortality and growth of late Chaoborus flavicans larvae.” PLOS ONE, 8(10), e75839.

Tixier, G., Rochfort, Q., Grapentine, L., Marsalek, J., Lafont, M. (2012). “Spatial and seasonal toxicity in a stormwater management facility: Evidence obtained by adapting an integrated sediment quality assessment approach” Water Research, vol. 46, pp. 6671-6682.

Twiss, M.R., McKay, R.M.L., Bourbonniere, R.A., Bullerjahn, G.S., Carrick, H.J., Smith, R.E.H., Winter J.G., D'souza, N.A., Furey, P.C., Lashaway, A.R., Saxton, M.A., Wilhelm, S.W. (2012). “Diatoms abound in ice-covered Lake Erie: an investigation of offshore winter limnology in Lake Erie over the period 2007 to 2010”. J. Great Lakes Res., 38, 18–30.

Welschmeyer, N. A. (1994). “Fluorometric Analysis of chlorophyll an in the presence of chlorophyll b and pheopigments.” Limnol. Oceanogr., 39(8), 1985-1992.