Long-term limnological data from the larger lakes of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Arctic and Alpine Research
By: , and 



Long-term limnological data from the four largest lakes in Yellowstone National Park (Yellowstone, Lewis, Shoshone, Heart) are used to characterize their limnology and patterns of temporal and spatial variability. Heart Lake has distinctively high concentrations of dissolved materials, apparently reflecting high thermal inputs. Shoshone and Lewis lakes have the highest total SiO2 concentrations (averaging over 23.5 mg L-1), apparently as a result of the rhyolitic drainage basins. Within Yellowstone Lake spatial variability is low and ephemeral for most measured variables, except that the Southeast Arm has lower average Na concentrations. Seasonal variation is evident for Secchi transparency, pH, and total-SiO2 and probably reflects seasonal changes in phytoplankton biomass and productivity. Total dissolved solids (TDS) and total-SiO2 generally show a gradual decline from the mid-1970s through mid-1980s, followed by a sharp increase. Ratios of Kjeldahl-N to total-PO4 (KN:TP) suggest that the lakes, especially Shoshone, are often nitrogen limited. Kjeldahl-N is positively correlated with winter precipitation, but TP and total-SiO2 are counterintuitively negatively correlated with precipitation. We speculate that increased winter precipitation, rather than watershed fires, increases N-loading which, in turn, leads to increased demand for TP and total SiO2.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Long-term limnological data from the larger lakes of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Series title Arctic and Alpine Research
DOI 10.2307/1552145
Volume 29
Issue 3
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 304
Last page 314
Country United States
State Wyoming
Other Geospatial Yellowstone National Park