The purpose of this study was to identify the prevailing chemical composition and trophic state of the shallow saline steppe lakes of North Kazakhstan along a wide size range (< 1–454 km2) and salinity gradient (2–322 g L−1) on a large spatial scale (1000 km), taking into account the potential effects of human disturbances. Water depth, Secchi disk transparency, temperature, pH, electric conductivity, major ions, total dissolved solids, total organic carbon, total nitrogen and phosphorus, nitrate, soluble reactive phosphorus, and chlorophyll a were measured. The equivalent percentage of major ions, Spearman rank correlation, multivariate analyses, equilibrium state of lakes, and spatial GIS autocorrelation were calculated. The impact of human disturbances (settlements, farms, and mines) on total organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll a were tested by Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA. The most common combinations of dominant ions were Na-Cl>SO4 and Na-Cl (n = 16; 64%); the Ca, Mg, HCO3, and SO4 ions precipitate with increasing salinity (2–322 g L−1); and ion composition shifts from Na>Mg-Cl>SO4 to Na-Cl. The most of the chemical variables positively, but chlorophyll a negatively, correlated with total dissolved solids, and the total phosphorus had no significant correlation with any variables. The trophic state of these lakes in most cases exceeded the hypertrophic level. The increase in salinity causes change in chemical composition and effects on the phytoplankton development independently from the size of water surface, and the human disturbances had negligible effect on the trophic state of shallow saline lakes in this region of Kazakhstan.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law