Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011ND240B

Temporal-spatial distribution (dynamics) of phytoplankton and diversity in relation to lake physical and chemical condition

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $5,300 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,601

Principal Investigators: Wei Lin

Abstract: Eutrofication as a result of anthropogenic input of nutrients especially phosphorus and nitrogen, that cause real (or perceived) concerns for surface water quality, is significant problem for North Dakota lakes and reservoirs. The increased input of nutrients causes excessive and rapid growth of phytoplankton. Biological productivity is high and the diversity of biological populations may be limited. The massive development of phytoplankton especially Cyanophiceae (blue-green algae), tends to form dense surface blooms. Some species are toxic or could cause allergic reaction. Surface blooms reduce light and nutrient availability to other algal species leading to lower algal diversity. High turbidity and floating films (mats) caused by algal blooms reduce light penetration, which is important for photosynthetic activity of submersed macrophytes. Sedimentation dead algae biomass causes increasing of organic matter in the sediments. Decomposition of sediment organic matter causes oxygen depletion, forming anoxic condition at the sediment surface and the deep water fauna becomes deprived of oxygen. Even pelagic fish, which release their eggs in open water to sink to the bottom, cannot continue to reproduce under anoxic sediment surface. Anoxic condition causes change in microbial and chemical processes. The release of nutrients from the anoxic sediments (internal loading) especially phosphorus causes self acceleration of eutrophication. Spectacular fish kill may result from advanced eutrophication. The goal of the proposed project is to expand existing research on water quality of the eutrophic impoundment Henrich Martin Dam. The scope is to understand how variation in physical and chemical disturbances influenced spatial - temporal phytoplankton distribution and diversity and can cause shifts in changes in community patterns.