Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014ND291B

The Role of Algal Species on Phosphorus Bioavailability

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $7,300 Total Non-Federal Funds: $14,601

Principal Investigators: Khan Eakalak

Abstract: The Red River of the North flows to Lake Winnipeg and the Missouri River joins the Mississippi River, which then flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Both these rivers in North Dakota contribute to the problem these water bodies are facing. The Lake Winnipeg algae blooms are considered the worst algae problem of any large freshwater lake in the world and the lake itself is reported as the most threatened lake in the world for 2013.In both situations, as well with other lakes and reservoirs across North Dakota, algae blooms grow from excess nutrient loading such as nitrogen and phosphorus. These increased loading rates are largely due to an increase in livestock production and the use of synthetic fertilizers in the Midwest, a region known for its crop and livestock production, along with wastewater contributions from cities along these rivers.Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in major cities in North Dakota, such as Fargo and Bismarck, have average and maximum effluent total phosphorus (TP) of approximately 3.5 and 6 mg/L, respectively. Currently there is no limit on P in the state of North Dakota, but nationwide regulations are being proposed to limit TP effluents to 1 mg/L.It is hypothesized in this study that BAP differs when different species of algae are utilized. The objectives are to test the bioavailability of P with algae placed individually and together in the same sample, as water bodies contain mixed cultures of organisms, to determine which P-species are contributing to the growth of different algae, to investigate the effect of enzymatic activity, and to evaluate the effect of UV light on BAP.