Work by a group of U.S. and Canadian researchers, most of them based on Lake Superior and including Environment and Climate Change Canada representation, is providing insight into a changing climate and effects upon the Great Lakes food web. The research is published in the latest edition of the journal, “Limnology and Oceanography” and points to an increase across all of the Great Lakes, including Superior, of the tiny algae called cyclotella. Several of the researchers are from the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth.
Researchers point out that this increase at the base of the food web is not concerning in and of itself but rather in relation to organisms up the food chain, like zooplankton, small fish that eat zooplankton and even large fish at the top of the food chain like lake trout.
The study links a rise in the presence of cyclotella to the rise in water temperature over the last decade or more and especially resulting temperature stratification. Temperature rise was initially noted through use of Lake Superior and Great Lakes data buoys.
Research was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Abstract and Article in the Limnology and Oceanography Journal – Climate Warming and Changes in Cyclotella Sensu lato in the Laurentian Great Lakes
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Euan Reavie, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota
Gerald V. Sgro, John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio
Lisa R. Estepp, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota
Andrew J. Bramburer, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota
Victoria L. Shaw Chraibi, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas
Robert W. Pillsbury, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin,
Meijun Kai, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota,
Craig A. Stow, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Alice Dove, Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada