Methane distribution patterns along a transect of Lake Fuxian, a deep oligotrophic lake in China

  • Biao Li
  • Qiujin Gu
  • Yuqing Miao
  • Wenlei Luo
  • Peng XingEmail author
  • Qinglong L. WuEmail author
Sediment Environment, Pollution and Remediation


Freshwater ecosystems are recognized as one of the important natural methane (CH4) sources, but little is known about the emission hotspots and the effects of algal blooms on CH4 production in deep lakes. In this study, carried out from the littoral (S1), pelagic (S2-S4), and the deepest site (S5), water samples from different depths and sediment cores were collected along the transect of Lake Fuxian, a deep monomictic lake to investigate the spatial–temporal variations of CH4. Dissolved methane concentration observed at the oxic metalimnion was 37.5% and 19.5% higher than that those observed at the epilimnion and at the layer between 80 and 100 m depth, respectively. During the overturn period, the vertical distribution of CH4 in the water column was uniform, with an average concentration of 0.031 ± 0.007 μM in S2–S5. Statistical analysis indicated that the CH4 concentration in the water column was significantly higher in S1 than other sites along the transect during both sampling periods. Sediment CH4 concentration and methane production potential (MPP) were also significantly higher in S1 than in other sites. Along the sediment depth, the maximum MPP was observed at 6–8 cm in S1, but it moved up to the surface layer in S2–S5 in both sampling periods. In addition, stable carbon isotope analysis indicated that the surface sediments in the pelagic zone (S2–S5) mainly comprised autochthonous organic matters. In this zone, MPP had a significantly positive correlation with sediment total organic carbon (TOC) (R2 = 0.401, p < 0.01). In summary, we described the spatial and temporal distributions of CH4 in deep Lake Fuxian, littoral zones are CH4 emission hotspots that can contribute to the CH4 accumulation in the oxic metalimnion layer during the stratification period. In the pelagic zone, autochthonous organic matter was transported into the surface sediment after a massive algal bloom, representing another hotspot for CH4 production.


Methane Lake Fuxian Hotspot Littoral zone Stratification Overturn 



We would like to thank Jing Li, Jingya Xue, and Jianhua Luo for their help in the field work and figure modifications. We would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and constructive suggestions.

Funding information

This study was jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91751111, 31730013), Chinese Academy of Sciences (QYZDJ-SSW-DQC030), and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS (2014273).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6098_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1634 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biodiversity and Biotechnology, School of Biological SciencesNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Regional Response in the Yangtze-Huaihe River Basin, School of Geography and TourismAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuChina
  5. 5.Sino-Danish Centre for Education and ResearchBeijingChina

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