Lake Mendota

UW Mendota Buoy Project

Provides near real-time information regarding lake conditions while the buoy is deployed (inactive during winter months).

Lake Mendota Characteristics

Surface area (ha)

3,985

Lake Mendota and upper Yahara River estuary from the northeast.

Volume (million m3)

505

Maximum depth (m)

25.3

Mean depth (m)

12.7

Shoreline length (km)

35.2

Shoreline development factor

1.57

Flushing rate (yr-1)

0.22

Direct drainage area (km2)

562

Total drainage area (km2)

602

Above: Hydrographic map (depth in meters)

Current Year Conditions

 

Chemical Constituents

Water Temperatures for Lake Mendota

pH

8.5


0 to 7m Average July-23.1 C (74 F)
0 to 7m Maximum July-28.4 C (83 F)

Alkalinity (meq L-1)

3.4

Calcium (mg L-1)

32

Magnesium (mg L-1)

32

Thickest Annual Ice Cover for Lake Mendota


Average 49 cm (19 in)
Maximum 75 cm (30 in)
Minimum 30 cm (12 in)

Sulfate (mg SO4 L-1)

22

Chloride (mg L-1)

27

Sodium (mg L-1)

11

Potassium (mg L-1)

3.2

Specific Conductance (mS cm-1)

410

Total dissolved solids (mg L-1)

260

 

 

 Lake Mendota: Typical Conditions (1986)

Temperature ( C)

Dissolved Oxygen (mg L-1)

 

 

Water Depth (m)

Month

 

Additional Information

General Lake References:

Main Reference:

Kitchell, J.F. 1992. Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

 

Other:

Brock, T.D. 1985. A eutrophic lake: Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. (Ecol. Stud. Vol.55) Springer-Verlag, New York.

Lathrop, R.C., S.B. Nehls, C.L. Brynildson, and K.R. Plass. 1992. The fishery of the Yahara Lakes. Technical Bulletin No. 181. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

 

Current References on Selected Topics:

Watershed:

Nonpoint pollution, please see Issues in Ecology, a publication of the Ecological Society of America

Bennett, E.M., T. Reed-Anderson, J.N. Houser, J.R. Gabriel, and S.R. Carpenter. 1999. A phosphorus budget for the Lake Mendota watershed. Ecosystems 2:69-75.

Lathrop, R.C. 1998. Water clarity responses to phosphorus and Daphnia in Lake Mendota. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, C.A. Stow, P.A. Soranno, and J.C. Panuska. 1998. Phosphorus loading reductions needed to control blue-green algal blooms in Lake Mendota. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55:1169-1178.

Soranno, P.A., S.L. Hubler, S.R. Carpenter, and R.C. Lathrop. 1996. Phosphorus loads to surface waters: a simple model to account for spatial pattern of land use. Ecol. Appl. 6:865-878.

Soranno, P.A. 1995. Phosphorus cycling in the Lake Mendota ecosystem: internal versus external nutrient supply. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lathrop, R.C. 1992. Nutrient loadings, lake nutrients, and water clarity. Pages 69-96 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. New York: Springer-Verlag.

 

Physical limnology (water temperature, mixing, ice cover):

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, and D.M. Robertson. 1999. Summer water clarity responses to phosphorus, Daphnia grazing, and internal mixing in Lake Mendota. Limnol. Oceanogr. 44:137-146.

Soranno, P.A., S.R. Carpenter, and R.C. Lathrop. 1997. Internal phosphorus loading in Lake Mendota: response to external loads and weather. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54:1883-1893.

Robertson, D.M., R.A. Ragotzkie, and J.J. Magnuson. 1992. Lake ice records used to detect historical and future climatic changes. Climatic Change 21:407-427.

Robertson, D.M. and R.A. Ragotzkie. 1990. Changes in the thermal structure of moderate to large sized lakes in response to changes in air temperature. Aquat. Sci. 52:360-380.

Robertson, D.M. 1989. The use of lake water temperature and ice cover as climatic indicators. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Stauffer, R.E. 1974. Thermocline migration-algal bloom relationships in stratified lakes. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Stewart, K.M. 1965. Physical Limnology of some Madison lakes. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

 

Nutrients:

Lathrop, R.C. 1998. Water clarity responses to phosphorus and Daphnia in Lake Mendota. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, C.A. Stow, P.A. Soranno, and J.C. Panuska. 1998. Phosphorus loading reductions needed to control blue-green algal blooms in Lake Mendota. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. (in press).

Soranno, P.A., S.R. Carpenter, and R.C. Lathrop. 1997. Internal phosphorus loading in Lake Mendota: response to external loads and weather. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54:1883-1893.

Soranno, P.A. 1995. Phosphorus cycling in the Lake Mendota ecosystem: internal versus external nutrient supply. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lathrop, R.C. 1992. Nutrient loadings, lake nutrients, and water clarity. Pages 69-96 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Lathrop, R.C., and S.R. Carpenter. 1992. Phytoplankton and their relationship to nutrients. Pages 97-126 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Sonzogni, W.C. 1974. Effect of nutrient input reduction on the eutrophication of the Madison lakes. PhD thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

 

Water Clarity / Algal Blooms / Phytoplankton:

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, and D.M. Robertson. 1999. Summer water clarity responses to phosphorus, Daphnia grazing, and internal mixing in Lake Mendota. Limnol. Oceanogr. 44:137-146.

Lathrop, R.C. 1998. Water clarity responses to phosphorus and Daphnia in Lake Mendota. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, C.A. Stow, P.A. Soranno, and J.C. Panuska. 1998. Phosphorus loading reductions needed to control blue-green algal blooms in Lake Mendota. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. (in press).

Soranno, P.A. 1997. Factors affecting the timing of surface scums and epilimnetic blooms of blue-green algae in a eutrophic lake. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54:1965-1975.

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, and L.G. Rudstam. 1996. Water clarity in Lake Mendota since 1900: responses to differing levels of nutrients and herbivory. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 53:2250-61.

Stow, C.A., S.R. Carpenter, and R.C. Lathrop. 1997. A Bayesian observation error model to predict cyanobacterial biovolume from spring total phosphorus in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54:464-473.

Soranno, P.A. 1995. Phosphorus cycling in the Lake Mendota ecosystem: internal versus external nutrient supply. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lathrop, R.C. 1992. Nutrient loadings, lake nutrients, and water clarity. Pages 69-96 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Lathrop, R.C., and S.R. Carpenter. 1992. Phytoplankton and their relationship to nutrients. Pages 97-126 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Hurley, J.P. and D.E. Armstrong. 1990. Fluxes and transformations of aquatic pigments in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Limnol. Oceanogr. 32:384-398.

Fallon, R.D., and T.D. Brock. 1979. Decomposition of blue-green algal (Cyanobacterial) blooms in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 37:820-830.

Konopka, A., T.D. Brock, and A.E. Walsby. 1978. Buoyancy regulation by planktonic blue-green algae in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Arch. Hydrobiol. 83:524-537.

Konopka, A., and T.D. Brock. 1978. Changes in photosynthetic rate and pigment content of blue-green algae in Lake Mendota. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 36:527-532.

 

Zooplankton:

Lathrop, R.C., S.R. Carpenter, and D.M. Robertson. 1999. Summer water clarity responses to phosphorus, Daphnia grazing, and internal mixing in Lake Mendota. Limnol. Oceanogr. 44:137-146.

Lathrop, R.C. 1998. Water clarity responses to phosphorus and Daphnia in Lake Mendota. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Rudstam, L.G., R.C. Lathrop, and S.R. Carpenter. 1993. The rise and fall of a dominant planktivore: direct and indirect effects on zooplankton. Ecology 74(2):303-319.

Lathrop, R.C., and S.R. Carpenter. 1992. Zooplankton and their relationship to phytoplankton. Pages 127-50 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Pedros-Alio, C., and T.D. Brock. 1985. Zooplankton feeding dynamics in Lake Mendota: short-term versus long-term changes. Freshwater Biology 15:89-94.

Pedros-Alio, C., E. Woolsey, and T.D. Brock. 1985. Zooplankton dynamics in Lake Mendota: abundance and biomass of the metazooplankton from 1976 to 1980. Trans. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts Lett. 73:167-185.

Pedros-Alio, C., and T.D. Brock. 1983. The impact of zooplankton feeding on the epilimentic bacteria of a eutrophic lake. Freshwat. Biol. 13:227-239.

 

Aquatic Macrophytes:

Nichols, S.A., and R.C. Lathrop. 1994. Cultural impacts on macrophytes in the Yahara Lakes since the late 1800s. Aquat. Bot. 47:225-247.

Deppe, E.R., and R.C. Lathrop. 1993. Recent changes in the aquatic macrophyte community of Lake Mendota. Trans. Wis. Acad. Sci. Arts Lett. 81:47-58.

Nichols, S.A., R.C. Lathrop, and S.R. Carpenter. 1992. Long term vegetation trends: a history. Pages 151-71 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

 

Benthic Invertebrates:

Lathrop, R.C. 1992. Decline in zoobenthos densities in the profundal sediments of Lake Mendota (Wisconsin, USA). Hydrobiologia 235/236:353-361.

Lathrop, R.C. 1992. Benthic macroinverebrates. Pages 173-92 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

 

Fish:

Weaver, M.J., J.J. Magnuson, and M.K. Clayton. 1997. Distribution of littoral fishes in structurally complex macrophytes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54:2277-2289.

Johnson, T.B., and J.F. Kitchell. 1996. Long-term changes in zooplanktivorous fish community composition: implications for food webs. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 53:2792-2803.

Johnson, T.B. 1995. Long-term dynamics of the zooplanktivorous fich community in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Johnson, B.M., and S.R. Carpenter. 1994. Functional and numerical responses: a framework for fish-angler interactions. Ecol. Appl. 4:808-21.

Johnson, B.M. 1993. Toward a holistic recreational fisheries management: fish-angler-management interactions in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Ph.D. thesis. . University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Rudstam, L.G., R.C. Lathrop, and S.R. Carpenter. 1993. The rise and fall of a dominant planktivore: direct and indirect effects on zooplankton. Ecology 74(2):303-319.

Kitchell, J.F. 1992. Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York. (numerous chapters about fish)

Lathrop, R.C., S.B. Nehls, C.L. Brynildson, and K.R. Plass. 1992. The fishery of the Yahara Lakes. Technical Bulletin No. 181. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Lyons, J. 1989. Changes in the abundance of small littoral-zone fishes in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Can. J. Zool. 67:2910-2916.

 

Paleolimnology:

Winkler, M. G. (1994). Sensing plant community and climate change by charcoal-carbon isotope analysis. Ecoscience 1(4):340-345.

Hurley, J.P., D.E. Armstrong, and A.L. DuVall. 1992. Historical interpretation of pigment stratigraphy in Lake Mendota sediments. Pages 49-68 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Kitchell, J.F. and P.R. Sanford. 1992. Paleolimnological evidence of food web dynamics in Lake Mendota. Pages 31-47 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Winkler, M. G., Swain, A.M., and Kutzbach, J. E. (1986). Middle Holocene dry period in the northern midwestern United States: lake levels and pollen stratigraphy. Quaternary Research 25:235-250.

Bortelson, G.C. 1970. The chemical investigation of recent lake sediments from Wisconsin lakes and their interpretation. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

 

Other Water Chemistry Constituents / Chloride-Road Salt:

(Contact City of Madison Dept. Public Health for annual road salt use report, which includes information on chloride concentrations in the Yahara lakes.)

Lathrop, R.C. 1992. Lake Mendota and the Yahara River Chain. Pages 16-29 in J.F. Kitchell (ed.), Food web management: a case study of Lake Mendota. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Lathrop, R.C. 1988. Chloride and sodium trends in the Yahara lakes. Wis. Dep. Nat. Resour. Research/Management Findings No. 12.