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Plankton Community Dynamics near the Saugahatchee Creek Embayment: Variable Effects of Phosphorus Loading and Zooplankton Grazers on Algal Abundance. Michael Chislock, Kristin Adamson, Jim Stoeckel, and Alan Wilson Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures Auburn University.

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Plankton Community Dynamics near the Saugahatchee Creek Embayment: Variable Effects of Phosphorus Loading and Zooplankton Grazers on Algal Abundance

Michael Chislock, Kristin Adamson, Jim Stoeckel, and Alan Wilson

Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures

Auburn University

acknowledgments
Acknowledgments

AL Power – for allowing us to access their house during experiment set-ups.

Kiunte Dowdell, Reni Kaul, Erin Cash, and Sean Maher assisted with field work

in all weather conditions. This project was funded by an Auburn University

Water Center grant and a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research.

Jacaris (for assisting last summer, drinking/eating Daphnia when I told him to, and losing my Rat-l-traps in the stumps)

Reni – for getting in the boat … with Al driving

Key – for helping out in the hot weather (and for taking a dive in the pond during “the mudfight”)

Wilson Lab at Auburn University (www.wilsonlab.com)

background
Background

Threats to Reservoir Systems

Nutrient enrichment

Invasive/non-native species

background4
Background

Sedimentation & Nutrient Loading

Threats to Reservoir Systems

Sediment and phosphorus pulses from Saugahatchee Creek  algal blooms?

Mudline/Sediment plume

project overview
Project Overview

Central Aims

- To understand how pulses of nutrients, sediments, and grazers influence

plankton communities in reservoirs

- How does upstream nutrient loading in Saugahatchee Creek impact

plankton abundance in Yates Lake (and do these effects vary seasonally)?

Outline

Site Info and Background

Experimental Design Development

Seasonal Experiments

sampling sites
Sampling Sites

Tallapoosa Upst

Saugahatchee

AL Power Boat Dock

sampling sites7
Sampling Sites

Experimental Sites

Saugahatchee Creek

Tallapoosa Upst

sampling sites8
Sampling Sites

Experimental Sites

Tallapoosa Upst

Saugahatchee

general experimental design
General experimental design

Goals: (1) To determine effects of nutrient pulses and grazers on phytoplankton

(2) To test whether these effects vary across sites and seasonally

Methodology

2 nutrient treatments (ambient; 2X seasonal maximum phosphorus) × 2 grazer treatments (grazer; no grazer) × 2 sites (Saug embayment; Yates Lake – embayment above Saug input)

-3 replicates/treatment combination at each site

-200 μg L-1 = target total phosphorus

-2X ambient zooplankton density for grazer treatment (80 µm mesh)

Mesocosms attached to PVC frames – 44 gallon Rubbermaid Brute trash can enclosures or 6.5 gallon buckets

Short-term experiments

slide10

Hypothesis – Completely Conceived Results

Importance of bottom-up vs top-down effects

effects of enclosure size
Effects of Enclosure Size

Packing Up

Buckets vs Cans

pilot experiment effects of scale buckets vs cans
Pilot Experiment – Effects of Scale (Buckets vs Cans)

Key Results – 44 gallon trash cans

  • Significant effect of fertilization and

grazer treatments in cans

  • Treatment effects much stronger

after 2 weeks

  • Rank order of treatments as predicted
  • Key Results – 6.5 gallon buckets
  • Significant effect of grazer treatments

only after 2 weeks

  • Data much less ‘clean’ than cans
  • Fertilized/grazer mean substantially lower

than ambient/grazer

-lots of settled algae in shallow buckets

slide14

Demonic intrusion (Hurlbert, S.H., 1984. Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecological Monographs 54:187-211)

slide15

Demonic intrusion (Hurlbert, S.H., 1984. Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecological Monographs 54:187-211)

Elevated N

seasonal experiments design
Seasonal experiments design

Goals: (1) To determine effects of nutrient pulses and grazers on phytoplankton

(2) To test whether these effects vary across sites and seasonally

Methodology

2 nutrient treatments (ambient; 2X seasonal maximum phosphorus) × 2 grazer treatments (grazer; no grazer) × 2 sites (Saug embayment; Yates Lake – embayment above Saug input)

-3 replicates/treatment combination at each site

-200 μg L-1 = target total phosphorus

-2X ambient zooplankton density for grazer treatment (80 µm mesh)

44 gallon trash can enclosures

1 week = duration of experiment

winter experiment december total phosphorus
Winter Experiment (December)Total phosphorus

Experimental Sites

Initial Nutrient Levels

Initial Nutrient Levels

winter experiment december chlorophyll
Winter Experiment (December)Chlorophyll

-Significant phosphorus effect on Tallapoosa

-No grazer effect at either site

-Lack of a phosphorus effect on Saug likely a result of limited light availability and cold water temp

-Initial grazer density = 2X ambient  cool temperatures and short duration of experiment

spring experiment march
Spring Experiment (March)

-Only significant treatment effect = grazer effect on Saug

-Turbid conditions at both sites

conclusions
Conclusions

-Tremendous amount of variation in effects across space and time

-Sediment loading is an important water quality issue near the Saug embayment, with clear effects on algal productivity

-c.f., Coosa River System (cyanobacterial blooms, very high productivity)

-Future plans for this project – submit results to peer-reviewed publication this spring