Shifts in Klamath River metabolism following a reservoir cyanobacterial bloom

Laurel Genzoli, Robert O. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Sources of C and the location of production in rivers can influence trophic state. Despite major alterations to large rivers, data describing metabolic balance and partitioning in these rivers are sparse. We quantified ecosystem metabolism in the Lower Klamath River, USA, before and after a reservoir-derived cyanobacterial bloom. We calculated daily whole-river metabolism at 3 reaches on the Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam from May-October 2012. We measured planktonic metabolism biweekly from June to October to partition the source (planktonic or benthic) of whole-river gross primary production (GPPTotal) and ecosystem respiration (ERTotal) prior to and during the cyanobacterial bloom. Whole-river ecosystem metabolism in the Klamath River varied seasonally, with low GPPTotal and ERTotal in spring and autumn (May, June, October means = 4.4, -2.9 g O2 m-2 d-1), and high GPPTotal and ERTotal during summer (July-September means = 8.0, -6.8 g O2 m-2 d-1). Within sites, daily variation in ERTotal was coupled with daily variation in GPPTotal, suggesting a dominant role of autotrophs in ERTotal. Average rates of GPPTotal declined from upto downriver sites, driving parallel declines in net ecosystem production. After the bloom, planktonic production and respiration increased 2-4 × over nonbloom rates, whereas whole-river metabolism was relatively stable because of compensatory declines in benthic metabolism. Minimum daily dissolved O2 concentration (DO) declined with increasing GPPTotal. This pattern strengthened during the bloom, showing that DO, a regulated water-quality variable, was tightly linked to C-cycling processes in the river. The bloom changed the location (planktonic vs benthic) of production and respiration in the river and decreased DO minima, but not rates of whole-river metabolism. Location of primary production had only subtle effects on ecosystem metabolism compared to seasonal changes in metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-809
Number of pages15
JournalFreshwater Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Algal bloom
  • Daily metabolism
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Ecosystem respiration
  • Gross primary production
  • River
  • Water quality


Dive into the research topics of 'Shifts in Klamath River metabolism following a reservoir cyanobacterial bloom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this