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The natural variation of sediment phosphorus fractions in the littoral zone of Vernon Arm, Okanagan Lake, British Columbia Petticrew, Ellen Lesley


The variability of sediment phosphorus in the littoral zone of Vernon Arm of Okanagan Lake, British Columbia was investigated. Spatial variability was determined by transects and comparisons of two environmentally different zones. Temporal variability, was determined from a seasonal sampling period of 52 days and an early summer 10 day period was evaluated. The natural variation of sediment P concentration was seen to associate spatially with physical sediment characteristics. Temporal variation was observed in each fraction. Replicate sampling of sediment P fractions at one site and at one point in time indicated that the only significant natural variation was in the organic P fraction. In a short time period (10 days) organic P and non-apatite inorganic P concentrations were seen to vary, presumably due to temperature fluctuations. Over a longer period (52 days) apatite P and non-apatite inorganic P were altered in a weedy near shore site but not in a deeper non-weedy zone. The role of weeds in the nutrient transfers between water and sediment were noted to be of significance. Resuspension of bottom sediments due to turbulent water conditions was determined to be the parameter effective in altering sediment P fractions during the summer of 1979. Iron in Vernon Arm sediments was not found to control phosphate levels by chemical precipitation but rather appeared to play a role in adsorption-desorption processes as non-occluded iron complexes.

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