Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2006


Engstrom, D.R., and Fritz, S.C., 2006, Coupling between primary terrestrial succession and the trophic development of lakes at Glacier Bay, in Piatt, J.F., and Gende, S.M., eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Glacier Bay Science Symposium, October 26–28, 2004: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5047, p. 8-11.


We use sediment cores from lakes in Glacier Bay National Park to examine the relationship between successional changes in catchment vegetation and trends in water-column nitrogen (a limiting nutrient) and lake primary production. Terrestrial succession at Glacier Bay follows several different pathways, with older sites in the lower bay being colonized directly by spruce (Picea) and by-passing a prolonged alder (Alnus) stage that characterizes younger upper-bay sites. Sediment cores from three sites spanning this successional gradient demonstrate that the variability in trophic development among lakes is a consequence of the establishment and duration of N-fixing alder in the lake catchment.