Phytoplankton Composition and Temporal Variation among the Three Basins of Lake Whatcom, Washington
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Robin A. Matthews
The phytoplankton populations were studied over a one year period in the three basins of Lake Whatcom, a warm, monomictic, chain lake in northwestern Washington. The water quality in all three basins was similar while the lake was unstratified. Following stratification, basins 1 and 2 developed anoxic hypolimnia, with subsequent release of ammonia and phosphorus from the sediments, while basin 3 had relatively high concentrations of oxygen throughout the water column. During the summer the flow out of basin 1 was greatly reduced, while the flow in basin 2 was maintained through the municipal water withdrawal by the City of Bellingham, WA. Water quality conditions developed in basin 1 that favored the growth of the blue-green alga Coelosphaerium naegelianum (low concentrations of combined, inorganic nitrogen and low N:P ratios). Ceolosphaenum biovolume in basin 2 was approximately 3% that of basin 1 while basin 3 did not develop a significant blue-green algal population. Although the Coelosphaerium blooms were correlated with the internal release of ammonia and phosphorus during stratification, basin 2 did not develop Ceolosphaerium blooms similar to basin 1 because of the greater inflow of water from basin 3, which contained comparatively higher concentrations of nitrate, and because of the increased flushing rate in basin 2 due to the municipal water withdrawal.
Ehinger, William James, "Phytoplankton Composition and Temporal Variation among the Three Basins of Lake Whatcom, Washington" (1988). Lake Whatcom Theses. 5.
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