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.

Related Articles


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 25, 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 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. 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