Biological Responses of Lakes in the Mount St. Helens Blast Zone

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Science  09 Apr 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4542, pp. 178-181
DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4542.178


Loadings of dissolved organics and suspended particulates from destroyed forests and volcanic debris produced by the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens altered the trophic structure of many blast zone lakes to the extent that anoxic conditions and chemoorganotrophic and chemolithotrophic microorganisms prevailed. High bacterial counts and high adenosine triphosphate concentrations were directly related to enhanced concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, and plankton chlorophyll a was inversely related to light extinction. The recovery of these lakes to the preeruption state appears dependent upon the oxidation of organics and the stabilization of watersheds.