Scaling relationships among drivers of aquatic respiration in temperate lakes: From the smallest to the largest freshwater ecosystems

E. K. Hall, D. R. Schoolmaster, A. M. Amado, E. G. Stets, J. T. Lennon, L. M. Domine, J. B. Cotner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To address how various environmental parameters control or constrain planktonic respiration (PR), we used geometric scaling relationships and established biological scaling laws to derive quantitative predictions for the relationships among key drivers of PR. We then used empirical measurements of PR and environmental (soluble reactive phosphate [SRP], carbon [DOC], chlorophyll a [Chl-a)], and temperature) and landscape parameters (lake area [LA] and watershed area [WA]) from a set of 44 lakes that varied in size and trophic status to test our hypotheses. We found that landscape-level processes affected PR through direct effects on DOC and temperature and indirectly via SRP. In accordance with predictions made from known relationships and scaling laws, scale coefficients (the parameter that describes the shape of a relationship between 2 variables) were found to be negative and have an absolute value <1. Biological parameters scaled positively with physical and chemical processes in accordance with those predicted from theory or previous studies (i.e., temperature >1, others <1). We also found evidence of a significant relationship between temperature and SRP. Because our dataset included measurements of respiration from small pond catchments to the largest body of freshwater on the planet, Lake Superior, these findings should be applicable to controls of PR for the great majority of temperate aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInland Waters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
AMA and JBC are thankful to the R/V Blue Heron Crew for field help and AMA to CNPq-Brazil for the SPS. A portion of this work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number OCE-0527196, DEB-0842441 to JTL and SEJ; and DEB-0519041 and OCE-0527196 to JBC. J. Clasen, H. Hendrixson, K. Land, S. Thompson, A. Warren, D. Weeedman, and M. Zylstra provided invaluable assistance with sampling and fieldwork.

Publisher Copyright:
© International Society of Limnology 2016.


  • Aquatic respiration
  • Ecosystem size
  • Lake area
  • Planktonic respiration
  • Scaling
  • Watershed area


Dive into the research topics of 'Scaling relationships among drivers of aquatic respiration in temperate lakes: From the smallest to the largest freshwater ecosystems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this