In this study we present a first limnological characterization of Lake Billy Mitchell [1,013 m above sea level (a.s.l.), 88.3 m depth, 3 km2 surface area] in central Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. Physicochemical depth profiles indicated mixis of the entire water body with oxygen saturation reaching 55% in the deepest layers. A shallow thermocline was eroded at night, indicating atelomixis. , Cl−, and Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+ were the dominant anions and cations, respectively, leading to a conductivity of around 1,230 µS cm−1. The pH was close to neutral throughout the water column, and no accumulation of CO2 was observed at greater depths. With a total phosphorus concentration of around 25 µg liter-1 the lake can be considered as meso- to eutrophic. The phytoplankton community consisted of 18 taxa. The dinophyte Peridiniopsis cf. penardii and the filamentous green alga Planctonema lauterbornii dominated in the uppermost layer and reached a total biovolume around 16 mm3 liter-1. Six macrophyte taxa were found (three Spermatophyta/three Bryophyta), with the water chestnut Eleocharis dulcis covering the shoreline and Ceratophyllum demersum spreading to at least 3 m depth. Seven ciliate species were detected (<5 individuals ml-1) with bacterivorous scuticociliates and the prostomatid Coleps hirtus hirtus dominating the assemblage. The micrometazoan plankton community comprised the rotifer Anuraeopsis fissa, the copepod Mesocyclops cf. affinis, and a cladoceran species within the Ceriodaphnia cornuta group all concentrating in the upper water column. The only fish species found in the lake was the eel Anguilla megastoma, whereas in the effluent river this species occurred together with Anguilla marmorata.
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Vol. 71 • No. 1