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Evaluating Phosphorus Limitation from the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers into Lake Erie

Evaluating Phosphorus Limitation from the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers into Lake Erie

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Evaluating Phosphorus Limitation from the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers into Lake Erie

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  1. Evaluating Phosphorus Limitation from the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers into Lake Erie Heather R. Kirkpatrick, Curtis C. Clevinger, Moumita M. Moitra, Darren L. Bade, Joseph D. Conroy, David A. Culver, William J. Edwards, Douglas D. Kane

  2. Lake Erie & Eutrophication • 1960’s: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs); extreme eutrophication; hypolimnetic hypoxia • 1972: Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) signed; reduced phosphorus (P) entering Lake Erie; P detergents banned • Late 1970’s-1980’s: Reductions in P recorded; decreased HABs and hypoxia • Mid-1990’s: re-eutrophication of Lake Erie; increases in dissolved P; return of HABs and hypoxia • Sandusky Bay in April (OhioLink Landsat 7)

  3. P-limitation Paradigm • P is considered most often limiting in freshwater • Nitrogen fixation should reduce the occurrence of N limitation • Managing for N may favor N limitation and N fixing cyanobacteria

  4. P-limitation • Demand of P by algae exceeds supply • Other factors are not limiting • When P supply > demand • Another factor is limiting

  5. Overall Project Goals • To directly assess the role of P in facilitating HABs by determining: • How Microcystis uses the bioavailable portion of the total P? • Where in these systems blooms are triggered (upstream, nearshore or offshore)?

  6. Specific Project Goals • To assess conditions of P-limitation by determining: • Where and when does P-limitation occur? • What are the causes and consequences of P-limitation (or lack thereof)?

  7. Healey & Hendzel 1979 Methods Heath, R.T. 1986 • Algal Phosphorus Debt (P-debt): • Amount of phosphate incorporated in 24 hours in dark • The more “phosphate starved” algae are the more phosphate is taken up • Scaled to algal biomass • Values above 0.075 µmol P/ µg chl are considered P limited • Phosphate Turnover Time (P-turnover): • Fast turnover times (less than 60 minutes) indicate P-limitation • Fast turnover times could be caused by a small phosphate pool or high demand by algae

  8. Methods • Chlorophyll a • Secchi depth • Total phosphorus • Nitrate • Ammonia

  9. Sandusky System Results

  10. LIMITED NOT LIMITED Indicates agreement with P-turnover data

  11. Maumee System Results

  12. LIMITED NOT LIMITED Indicates agreement with P-turnover data

  13. Summary • Sandusky system limited in 40% of the samples • Maumee system limited in 70% of the samples • Lake and tributary sites variable • Sandusky Bay generally not P-limited • Maumee River generally not P-limited

  14. Summary • Periods of high chlorophyll and low nitrate concentrations at Sandusky Bay and Maumee River sites • Since P is generally not limiting at these sites, other factors (e.g. nitrogen) may be limiting

  15. Conclusions • P-limitation not ubiquitous • Nitrogen may also be important in limiting algal growth • Although we have potential nitrogen limitation, most cyanobacteria were not N fixing • Management considering multiple factors may be more successful

  16. Acknowledgements • Funding: Lake Erie Protection Fund • The Ohio Academy of Science • Field collection crew • Joshua Smith • Dominique Guyton

  17. NOT LIMITED LIMITED

  18. NOT LIMITED LIMITED