. Earth Science News .

Loss of "lake lawnmowers" leads to algae blooms
by Staff Writers
Vancouver, Canada (SPX) Oct 05, 2011

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 (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 prestigious international journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Related Links
Queens University
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Dead Sea researchers discover freshwater springs and numerous micro-organisms
Beer-Sheva, Israel (SPX) Sep 30, 2011
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have discovered deep freshwater springs on the Dead Sea floor that feed into this rapidly dwindling body of water. In the first-ever Dead Sea diving expedition, the researchers also found new types of micro-organisms growing around fissures in the sea floor as part of a collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology s ... read more

IAEA experts to assist with Fukushima decontamination

Japan eases evacuation advisory for zones near nuclear plant

New report reveals the impact of global crises on international development

Plutonium detected outside Fukushima plant: government

India to launch $45 tablet computer

Research leads to enhanced kit to improve design and processing of plastics

When Water Becomes Glass

Apple chief Cook to debut hot new iPhone

Loss of "lake lawnmowers" leads to algae blooms

China raps Myanmar over dam project

New analysis confirms sharks are in trouble

Myanmar suspends dam project after rare outcry

Swiss warn of massive ice chunk breaking off glacier

Chinese target Arctic with Iceland land deal: experts

Model provides successful seasonal forecast for the fate of Arctic sea ice

Putin touts Arctic Northeast passage

Climate: Act now to diversify crops at risk, say scientists

Bigger profits for Asian rice producers?

Brazil native killing blamed on ranchers: advocates

Weeds are vital to the existence of farmland species

NASA-Funded Quake Forecast Gets High Score in Study

Second tropical storm hits southern China

'Worst' Thai floods kill 224, threaten Bangkok

Pakistanis at risk over world inaction on floods: WFP

Kenya tries to contact French woman's abductors in Somalia

Berkeley Lab Tests Cookstoves for Haiti

Guyana opposition warns foreign bauxite firms

Zambia's Sata tells Chinese investors to respect labour laws

What can magnetic resonance tractography teach us about human brain anatomy?

Many roads lead to Asia

Female promiscuity can rescue populations from harmful effects of inbreeding

DNA study suggests Asia was settled in multiple waves of migration


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement