Research Mentor(s)

Robin Matthews

Affiliated Department

Environmental Sciences

Sort Order

37

Start Date

15-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

15-5-2015 2:00 PM

Keywords

Phytoplankton, Algae, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), High elevation lakes, Water quality

Document Type

Event

Abstract

High- elevation lakes are unique ecosystems that are exposed to extreme environmental conditions and, as a result, are relatively simple systems in which changes can be detected. Phytoplankton communities within these systems are of interest because can be greatly influenced by the chemical components of the surrounding environment. This relationship allows phytoplankton assemblages to act as bioindicators that can give a greater insight into the water characteristics of lakes and vice versa. For this research, seven lakes were studied: Terminal, Upper Bagley, Lower Bagley, Heather Meadows Pond, Sunrise , Picture and Highwood. All seven are located in the headwaters watershed for the North Fork Nooksack River. Algae samples were collected in the summer of 2014 and annual water quality data from as early as 2006 was used. Scanning electron microscopy was used to gain species- level identification. In addition, relative abundance counts were done using settled samples and light microscopy. The water quality data was clustered using scaled centered principal components analysis. The results were two distinct clusters; the first containing the two Bagley lakes and the other containing the other five lakes. The Bagley lakes were dominated by diatoms including the genera Achanthidinium , Tabellaria, and Aulacoseria. In contrast, the other lakes were dominated by blooms of green algae and chrysophyte. The results of this research, along previous data, can be used to create a baseline of the ecology of lakes in the North Cascades. Further monitoring and research of a similar nature for these lakes will be key in detecting any changes that may occur in these sensitive areas in the face of changing climate due to both natural and anthropogenic sources.

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May 15th, 10:00 AM May 15th, 2:00 PM

Phytoplankton Ecology: Algal Assemblages in Correlation with Water Quality in High Elevation Lakes, North Cascades, WA

Environmental Sciences

High- elevation lakes are unique ecosystems that are exposed to extreme environmental conditions and, as a result, are relatively simple systems in which changes can be detected. Phytoplankton communities within these systems are of interest because can be greatly influenced by the chemical components of the surrounding environment. This relationship allows phytoplankton assemblages to act as bioindicators that can give a greater insight into the water characteristics of lakes and vice versa. For this research, seven lakes were studied: Terminal, Upper Bagley, Lower Bagley, Heather Meadows Pond, Sunrise , Picture and Highwood. All seven are located in the headwaters watershed for the North Fork Nooksack River. Algae samples were collected in the summer of 2014 and annual water quality data from as early as 2006 was used. Scanning electron microscopy was used to gain species- level identification. In addition, relative abundance counts were done using settled samples and light microscopy. The water quality data was clustered using scaled centered principal components analysis. The results were two distinct clusters; the first containing the two Bagley lakes and the other containing the other five lakes. The Bagley lakes were dominated by diatoms including the genera Achanthidinium , Tabellaria, and Aulacoseria. In contrast, the other lakes were dominated by blooms of green algae and chrysophyte. The results of this research, along previous data, can be used to create a baseline of the ecology of lakes in the North Cascades. Further monitoring and research of a similar nature for these lakes will be key in detecting any changes that may occur in these sensitive areas in the face of changing climate due to both natural and anthropogenic sources.

 

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