Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015ME308B

Plankton N cycling and detection of cyanobacterial blooms across a gradient of lake trophic state

Institute: Maine
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-04-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $49,668

Principal Investigators: Denise Bruesewitz, Peter Countway, D King

Abstract: This collaborative research incorporates cutting-edge microbial genetics and characterization of cyanobacteria blooms, with a focus on Gloeotrichia echinulata, alongside dynamic metrics of nitrogen (N) cycling by lake phytoplankton and bacteria. This suite of measurements will be taken across a gradient of low nutrient to high nutrient lakes through the ice-free season in the Belgrade Lakes catchment to better understand the role ecosystem N dynamics and microbial community composition may play in the development of cyanobacterial blooms. This is a critical area of research for water resources in Maine, where many lakes are used as public drinking water sources that may be exposed to toxins produced by cyanobacteria. Denise Bruesewitz and Whitney King of Colby College and Peter Countway of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will work directly with a group of undergraduate students who will gain experience with a unique, diverse training in ecosystem ecology and microbial genetics. The undergraduate students will be directly involved in field work, lab work, data analysis and communication of the research. This work will enhance understanding of cyanobacterial blooms by providing a better understanding of potential physiochemical and biological controls on cyanobacteria blooms in Maine lakes.