Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016NY226B

Water Quality and Algal Community Dynamics in the Finger Lakes

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,272

Principal Investigators: Lisa Cleckner, Roxanne Razavi, John Halfman

Abstract: Water quality and supply is dependent on both the abiotic conditions in a system and the biotic communities they support. This project aims to characterize algal assemblages throughout a summer season in two representative systems of the Finger Lakes and the abiotic conditions before, during, and after successive algal blooms to understand what factors are associated with a given assemblage. This project will test for differences in algal class assemblages in the nearshore and offshore habitats of lakes, and within oligotrophic and eutrophic systems. Advanced sensor technology will be purchased and employed for in situ measurements of chlorophyll differentiated by algal class. Specifically, a Fluoro-Probe spectra-fluorometer will be used to differentiate four major phytoplankton groups in the water column in pelagic and nearshore areas. This study will contribute important data toward understanding abiotic conditions in pelagic and benthic habitats that likely affect algal assemblages in the Finger Lakes. Given the effects of climate change and extreme weather on nutrient and sediment inputs to lakes, it is important for managers to understand how those changes can influence the propensities of systems to develop conditions amenable to undesirable cyanobacterial species that dominate harmful algal blooms in freshwaters. Results of this work will be shared with Finger Lakes watershed associations and local government groups to inform future water quality management planning and implementation activities.