Aquatic Sciences

, 81:70 | Cite as

Climate change accelerates recovery of the Tatra Mountain lakes from acidification and increases their nutrient and chlorophyll a concentrations

  • Jiří KopáčekEmail author
  • Jiří Kaňa
  • Svetlana Bičárová
  • Janice Brahney
  • Tomáš Navrátil
  • Stephen A. Norton
  • Petr Porcal
  • Evžen Stuchlík
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Understanding mountain lakes in a changing world


We evaluated changes in the concentration of cations, anions, nutrients (dissolved organic carbon, DOC; phosphorus, P; and nitrogen forms including nitrate, NO3 and total organic nitrogen, TON), and chlorophyll a (Chl-a) in 31 Tatra Mountain lakes in Slovakia and Poland during their recovery from acidic deposition (1992–2018). Typical effects of decreasing acidic deposition on the lakes’ water composition, such as decreasing base cation concentrations, were confounded by climate change and catchment characteristics, including areal proportions of well-developed soils and scree. A climate-related increase in physical erosion provided freshly exposed unweathered granodiorite (the dominant bedrock) to chemical weathering. Dissolution of accessory calcite in the granodiorite increased the in-lake Ca2+ and HCO3 concentrations and reversed the Ca2+ trends, which originally decreased in parallel with strong acid anions. These changes were most pronounced in steep, scree-rich areas, which are most sensitive to physical weathering. Fresh apatite [Ca5(PO4)3(F, Cl, OH)] in the crushed granodiorite acts as a P source at soil pH’s between 4 and 5 and in the presence of chelating organic acids within soils. These conditions enhance apatite solubility, which in part explains increasing P in lakes with scree-dominated catchments. Soil recovery from acidification due to decreasing acidic deposition and the neutralizing effect of weathering of erosion-derived accessory calcite were the most likely causes of elevated DOC and P export from soils. Their elevated leaching was accompanied by increasing in-lake concentrations of Chl-a and TON. The increasing TON concentrations were, as for Ca2+, most pronounced in the scree-rich catchments, and represented the most sensitive indicator of the changes in the lake water nutrient composition.


Weathering Accessory calcite and apatite Phosphorus Organic nitrogen Chlorophyll 



This study was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (project No. P503/17/15229S). We thank the authorities of the Tatra National Parks (TANAP in Slovakia and TPN in Poland) and State Forests of TANAP for their administrative support. We thank numerous colleagues and students for their field and laboratory help during 1992–2018, particularly geologist R. Pipík for rock sampling and Z. Hořická for chlorophyll a sampling. Participation of T. Navrátil was supported by institutional project RVO67985831.

Supplementary material

27_2019_667_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (296 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 295 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of HydrobiologyCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Earth Science InstituteSlovak Academy of SciencesTatranská LomnicaSlovak Republic
  4. 4.Department of Watershed SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  5. 5.Institute of Geology CASPrague 6Czech Republic
  6. 6.Earth and Climate SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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