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Oligotrophic and eutrophic lakes

Oligotrophic and eutrophic lakes



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Where is the difference?


Lakes can be classified according to the amount of nutrients in them. Basically, one differentiates between four trophic systems: Oligotroph (I), Mesotroph (II), Eutrophic (III) and Hypertroph (IV). Oligotrophic lakes are waters with very few nutrients, whereas hypertrophic lakes are very nutrient-rich. This article focuses on the two most important and common trophic systems: oligotrophic and eutrophic lakes.

Table: Comparison of oligotrophic and eutrophic lakes

oligotrophyeutrophication
meaning"oligo" = little; "Trophie" = urgent"eu" = good "trophy = urgent
Nдhrstoffgehaltlittlehigh
biomass productionDependent on the nutrient content, therefore hardly any biomass productionDepending on the nutrient content, therefore a lot of biomass production
Nдhrstoffgehaltlittlehigh
oxygen contentHigh O2 content throughout the lakeOnly in Epilimnion a high O2 content, because there takes place the photosynthesis of phytoplankton
waterblue color (due to the high O2 concentration)green and dull by the many phytoplankton
view Rangepossible over 10m viewing deptha maximum of one meter
Bottom of the lakeonly a few sedimentsSeveral centimeter thick mud layer
shore areafew / no plantswooded