Ordway-Swisher Biological Station - Suggs Lake - SUGG

Site Type

Core Aquatic


Florida, D03, Southeast

Site Host

University of Florida Foundation

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Aquatic Site Marker

This map depicts the spatial layout of this field site. Please note that some locations may have moved over time due to logistics, safety and science requirements. This map was updated on July 11, 2018

Construction Status for this Site

Civil Construction Sensor Installation Field Sampling Data Status
Partially Available


Suggs Lake is situated within Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS) in Putman County and classified as a Marsh lake and Baygall as a function of the major plant communities that surround it. The lake is a seepage lake, with the majority of lakes in Florida being underlain by the Floridan Aquifer dominated by a limestone and dolomite geology.

Surface area, elevation & depth

Suggs Lake is an isothermal, mesotrophic lake 0.73 km2 in area and situated at an altitude of 29 m. It has a maximum depth of 5.7 m and a mean depth of 2.5 m.

Geological characteristics

Suggs lake is classified as a clastic upland lake with substrates composed generally of clays and organics. The limestone geology is overlain by a variable mixture of sand, gravel, clay, phosphate, and carbonate deposited during the Pleistocene interglacials. 

Water flow

Suggs Lake is primarily surface water dominated, although it does interact with the regional aquifer to some extent. This lake lies within a greater flow through wetland complex. Inflow lies on the SW part of the lake with a smaller inflow from the E edge of the lake. Outflow is through the NW part of the lake as part of the greater wetland complex. Suggs Lake is classified as a seepage lake dominated by groundwater flow with the local aquifer, but it is also fed by the local surface and subsurface flow through the wetland complex. There is no discernible inflow or outflow to Suggs Lake, although there is some evidence of water inflow from the south western edge of the lake with a flow pattern to the N and NW. Suggs Lake is a seepage lake and due to its formation by solution processes, there is a strong link between the lake and the groundwater. In areas where the potentiometric surface of the Floridan aquifer system is at a higher altitude than the water table of the surficial aquifer that overlies it, water moves upward toward the land surface. These areas are referred to as discharge areas or areas of artesian flow.

Nearby land management

Regular prescribed burns are typical in this region.


Lake Suggs has large areas of emergent macrophytes, and is surrounded by cypress swamps and old pastures. The swamps and adjacent hardwood forests are dominated by Bald Cycpress (Taxodium distichum), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), water oak (Quesrcus nigra) and slash pine. The diatom or assemblage is dominated by planktonic forms, notably M. herzogii and Aterionella ralfsii

Biological characteristics

Lake Suggs has a dense population of salamanders, with other common species of amphibians including greater siren (Siren lacertina), lesser siren (Siren intermedia), two-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma means), one-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma pholeter), narrow-striped dwarf siren (Pseudobranchus axanthus), the broad-striped dwarf siren (Pseudobranchus striatus) and the pig frog (Rana grylio).


Suggs Lake has been sampled for chemical constituents weekly since the 1970’s. Seasonal variability in chemical parameters is largely controlled by the surrounding wetlands and hydrology. Suggs Lake is a high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) lake with an average concentration of 20 mg L -1. Due to the high DOC content, the lake is rather acidic with a pH of 4.74.and an acidity of 15.10 mg CaCO3 L -1. Low oxygen levels are common, with common values around 5.60 mg L -1. The lake is characterized by a Chlorophyll a concentration of 4 μg L -1. NEON will contribute to this long-term stream chemistry data set through 12 lake water grab samples annually and continuous sensor data over 30 years. Such chemical measurements along with other NEON-generated data on terrestrial chemical parameters will enable novel investigations in ecohydrology and cross system studies.

Resources & additional readings

  • James, R.T. 1991. Microbiology and chemistry of acid lakes in Florida: II. Seasonal relationships. Hydrobiologia, 213: 227- 240
  • Schiffer, D.M., 1998, Hydrology of Central Florida Lakes —A Primer. U.S. Geological Survey circular : 1137
  • Sweets, P. R., R. W. Bienert, T. L. Crisman and M. W. Binford. 1990. Paleoecological investigations of recent lake acidification in northern Florida. J. Paleolimno 4:103-137
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