Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020VT248B

Impact of Storms on Lake Phytoplankton Community Dynamics

Institute: Vermont
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $30,583 Total Non-Federal Funds: $61,210

Principal Investigators: Jason Stockwell

Abstract: Although climate change is expected to cause more intense and frequent extreme weather events, we only have a basic understanding of how these events might alter freshwater phytoplankton communities. Storms can have strong impacts on water clarity, thermal stratification, and mixing dynamics of lakes, which in turn may influence niche availability and phytoplankton succession, and thus taxonomic and functional diversity of freshwater phytoplankton communities. A working group (“Storm-Blitzâ€) was organized within the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) in 2013 to address questions about the impacts of storms on phytoplankton communities through sharing of long-term datasets and high-frequency data in lakes across the globe. Recently, members of Storm-Blitz received funding from two sources (Centre de Synthèse et d’Analyse sur la Biodiversité (CESAB) in France and USGS John Wesley Powell Center) to support a dedicated working group (GEISHA, Global Evaluation of the Impacts of Storms on freshwater Habitat and Structure of phytoplankton Assemblages) for six workshops over three years. The goals of GEISHA are to 1) create the time, space, and resources to work as a cohesive unit, 2) gather and standardize long-term datasets, 3) perform meta-analyses to evaluate the sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems to extreme weather events, and 4) provide new frameworks to explore theoretical and applied questions related to phytoplankton species diversity and succession in aquatic ecosystems. In this proposal, we provide details and an update on GEISHA to support our request for 5 months of additional support for our current post-doc to supplement 7 months of secured funding (which includes 3 months of funding from the Vermont Water Resources Center in 2019-2020). The supplemental funding is critical to ensure sufficient time for our new post-doc to complete analyses and manuscripts for publication.