Increasing water clarity in Lake Ontario has led to a vertical redistribution of phytoplankton and an increased importance of the deep chlorophyll layer in overall primary productivity. We used in situ fluorometer profiles collected in lakewide surveys of Lake Ontario in 2008 to assess the spatial extent and intensity of the deep chlorophyll layer. In situ fluorometer data were corrected with extracted chlorophyll data using paired samples from Lake Ontario collected in August 2008. The deep chlorophyll layer was present offshore during the stratified conditions of late July 2008 with maximum values from 4–13 μg l−1 corrected chlorophyll a at 10 to 17 m depth within the metalimnion. Deep chlorophyll layer was closely associated with the base of the thermocline and a subsurface maximum of dissolved oxygen, indicating the feature's importance as a growth and productivity maximum. Crucial to the deep chlorophyll layer formation, the photic zone extended deeper than the surface mixed layer in mid-summer. The layer extended through most of the offshore in July 2008, but was not present in the easternmost transect that had a deeper surface mixed layer. By early September 2008, the lakewide deep chlorophyll layer had dissipated. A similar formation and dissipation was observed in the lakewide survey of Lake Ontario in 2003.

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