Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Loss of 'lake lawnmowers' leads to algae blooms

Date:
September 28, 2011
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Unprecedented algae growth in some lakes could be linked to the decline of water calcium levels and the subsequent loss of an important algae-grazing organism that helps keep blooms at bay.

An algal bloom in a lake near Parry Sound, Ontario, located on the Canadian Shield, another region of Canada experiencing lakewater calcium decline. Image courtesy of Andrew Paterson.
Credit: Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Unprecedented algae growth in some lakes could be linked to the decline of water calcium levels and the subsequent loss of an important algae-grazing organism that helps keep blooms at bay.

Daphnia -- also known as water fleas -- act like microscopic lawnmowers in lakes, feeding on algae and keeping it in check. However, without sufficient calcium, these water fleas cannot reproduce.

"When water calcium levels get low and Daphnia populations decrease in any lake, algal growth goes unchecked and blooms can occur," says lead author and biology doctoral student Jennifer Korosi. "Losing an important grazer like these water fleas has a domino effect that leads to other water quality problems."

Declining calcium concentrations in some lakes, which is linked to acid deposition and logging, has only recently been identified as a serious environmental problem in North America and Europe.

By studying microscopic fossils and other indicators preserved in a lake sediment core from Lake George (Nova Scotia), the Queen's research team found that algal production remained relatively constant throughout the last century until around1990 when the levels tripled. The increase in algae directly coincided with the decrease of Daphnia in the lake.

"Algal blooms appear to be increasing in many lake regions," says biology professor John Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, and previous winner of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist. "Decreasing calcium levels appear to be one more factor that can exacerbate this problem. This is particularly worrisome given that many other stressors, such as climate warming and fertilizer runoff, are already contributing to the production of nuisance algal blooms. This is one more nail in the coffin."

Other members of the research team include PhD candidate Joshua Thienpont and undergraduate student Samantha Burke. Funding for the research comes from NSERC.

These findings will be published in the next issue of the international journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. B. Korosi, S. M. Burke, J. R. Thienpont, J. P. Smol. Anomalous rise in algal production linked to lakewater calcium decline through food web interactions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1411

Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Loss of 'lake lawnmowers' leads to algae blooms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928125420.htm>.
Queen's University. (2011, September 28). Loss of 'lake lawnmowers' leads to algae blooms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928125420.htm
Queen's University. "Loss of 'lake lawnmowers' leads to algae blooms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928125420.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — California is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery, liquor and convenience stores. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins