The Plitvice Lakes

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by kaysumhar
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The Plitvice Lakes

The Plitvice Lakes

By: Kaylee Harcrow

There are 16 interlinked lakes between Pljesevica and Mala Kapela Mountain. The lake system is divided into the upper and lower lakes. The upper lakes lie in dolomite valley, are separated by dolomite barriers, and are interlinked by numerous waterfalls and surrounded by thick forests. The lower lakes are shallower and smaller. They are surrounded by only sparse underbrush and lies on the limestone bedrock.

I found that the people who do weekly reports on the lakes have a climate change prediction. They predict that significant, widespread temperature change is going to take place within four years. If the temperature change comes quick and happens fast then it can be harmful to the lakes. It is best for the lakes to continue their routine to maintain their temperatures.

Since the Plitvice Lakes are lakes they contain freshwater. Freshwater contains no salt. The deepest the lake gets is 47 meters or about 154 feet. These characteristics allow many species to live in the lakes. River and steam crab, brown trout, rudd fish, chub fish, twelve species of amphibians, duck and many more fish live in the Plitvice Lakes. There are not many reptiles due to the long winters and thick snow cover. One hundred and fifty seven bird species also live at the national park. Along with 50 mammal species, including the brown bear.

The specific heat of water is high, meaning that it can absorb a lot of solar radiation before rising in temperature. For a lake, water density and specific heat cause layering of water at different temperatures and densities, called stratification. During most of winter, the ice insulates the water underneath making it possible for the fish to survive. Towards the end of winter ice melts and the cold dense water sinks. This mixes the more oxygenated water from lower levels with the less oxygenated water on the surface. In the fall, the opposite happens when the more oxygenated surface water mixes with the less oxygnated levels below it. The average water temperatures at the Plitvice Lakes are up to 68'F. Trout eggs will not hatch over 58'F and green algae grows best between 77'F-95'F. Any sudden changes in temperature can be harmful to the aquatic life.

The sun plays a vital role in the aquatic life in The Plitvice Lakes. The sun is one of the main source of energy for producers. Producers are anything from plants, to trees, to algae, to archaebacteria. Fish and other animals in the lakes feed on the plants and algae, they are called primary consumers. Without the sun there would be no plants for the fish to feed on and then there would be no fish.

The Plitvice Lakes are located in Lika-Senj, Croatia. The lakes that cover about 116 square miles are in a national park. They attract more than two million tourists each year.



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