, Volume 84, Issue 3, pp 285–295 | Cite as

Environmental factors which influence the sink of silica in the limnetic system of the large monomictic Lake Biwa and its watershed in Japan

  • Naoshige Goto
  • Takuro Iwata
  • Tetsuji Akatsuka
  • Masakazu Ishikawa
  • Masaki Kihira
  • Hisayuki Azumi
  • Kaori Anbutsu
  • Osamu Mitamura
Original Paper


Dissolved silica (DSi) and its associated biological and physicochemical factors were measured in Lake Biwa, Japan and its watershed from 2002 to 2003 in order to clarify seasonal variations in the magnitude of the sink of silica and the factors that influence it within the limnetic system. Consequently, it is concluded that Lake Biwa is a noticeable body of water where a massive sink of silica is caused. Calculated silica sedimentation in Lake Biwa was 2.0 × 107 kg Si year−1 (7.1 × 108 mol Si year−1) which is equivalent to about 80% of the annual inflow discharge of DSi to Lake Biwa. The magnitude of the sink varies seasonally by increasing in the winter holomictic stirring period, since it is greatly affected by the species composition of phytoplankton, the load of phosphorus and the condition of stratification. It seems reasonable to suppose that the DSi in Lake Biwa is removed mainly by biological processes, i.e., the assimilation of DSi by large centric diatoms and its accumulation in their frustules. Such silica sinks occur naturally in deeper stagnant waters, providing extended water residence time and supplying a certain amount of nutrients. These findings indicate that an increase in nutrient loads and abundance of stagnant water due to the construction of large dams lead to an expansion in the magnitude of the silica sink in a limnetic system.


Biogenic silica Diatom Dissolved silica Silica deficiency hypothesis Sink of silica Stagnant waters 



We gratefully acknowledge the many good and insightful comments provided by Dr. Akira Harashima of National Institute for Environmental Studies and we wish to thank Captain Bun-ichiro Kaigai of RV Hassaka, the University of Shiga Prefecture (USP), for his support during the sample collection. We are also indebted to the staff of the Limnological Laboratory, USP. This study was financially supported by a Grant-in-Aid from the Global Environment Research Fund, Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naoshige Goto
    • 1
  • Takuro Iwata
    • 2
  • Tetsuji Akatsuka
    • 1
  • Masakazu Ishikawa
    • 3
  • Masaki Kihira
    • 1
  • Hisayuki Azumi
    • 1
  • Kaori Anbutsu
    • 1
  • Osamu Mitamura
    • 1
  1. 1.Limnological Laboratory, School of Environmental ScienceThe University of Shiga PrefectureHikone, ShigaJapan
  2. 2.Gifu Prefectural Hida High SchoolTakayama, GifuJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Applied Environmental Geoscience Co., Ltd.Higashi-kuJapan

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