Research Brief: Highlighting Indigenous Peoples-Related Environmental Research
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
3d ago
Though lake research is relatively new as far as branches of science are concerned, Indigenous Peoples across the world have spent millions of years invested in studying, understanding and protecting lake resources. More modernly, Indigenous Tribes and researchers have continued to dedicate time and resources to assess lakes that hold significance to many First Nations. This significance extends beyond the use of a technical resource—for example, in the Laurentian Great Lakes, both the terrestrial and aquatic ecological systems hold spiritual, cultural and subsistence significance to various g ..read more
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Research Brief: Monitoring Climate Change Using Lakes as Sentinels
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
2w ago
Climate scientists are always on the search for a way to quantify the impacts of climate change, and while plenty of strategies include specific and intentional monitoring, researchers may also be able to use existing lake data to build an understanding of the impacts of climate change. Lakes are sensitive to both physical and chemical changes in the environment, which enables them to be good indicators of climate forcing–as such, they are often referred to as sentinels of climate change. Little Medicine Lake (Credit: Michael McCullough via Flickr CC BY 2.0) Multiple studies affirm that lake ..read more
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Research Brief: Climate-Influenced Phenological Shifts in Lake Stratification
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
3w ago
Stratification phenology plays a major role in driving lifecycle events in lakes. Subtle changes in stratification onset and break-up can determine the availability of light, nutrients, carbon and oxygen to organisms. This phenology is often caused by a changing climate; hence most variations in stratification are observed between seasons when there are ice-on and ice-off events, precipitation and seasonal heating and cooling events that lead to temperature variances in the water column and throughout the lake environment. Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe (Credit: USGS via Flickr CC BY 2.0) While tem ..read more
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Research Briefs: Winter Satellite Data Collection in the Great Lakes
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
1M ago
Part of being able to understand the Great Lakes is the ability to model and predict their behaviors accurately. Researchers use multiple models to learn about the Great Lakes, and one thing that all of the models have in common and rely on to run is data. Much of the Great Lakes modeling data is collected through data buoys in the warmer seasons. However, buoys are typically removed from the water during the winter to protect the equipment from damage due to weather and temperature conditions. Without buoys in the winter, data gathering is limited and thus often creates gaps in understanding ..read more
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Research Brief: Using Constructed Floating Wetlands to Treat Textile Effluent
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
1M ago
The efficiency of lab constructed floating wetlands (CFWs) has been studied time and time again in wastewater scenarios, but less is known about CFWs ability to pull pollutants from textile effluent. A study published in 2022 sought to remedy this gap in knowledge and explored the potential of constructed floating wetlands in treating textile effluent.1 A floating Wetland in Baltimore (Credit: Adam, via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0 Textile waste is a particularly difficult scenario to treat as the water typically contains high amounts of toxic pollutants, especially dyes. These dyes are difficult to ..read more
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Research Brief: Lake-Wide Microplastic Abundances in Lake Superior
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
2M ago
Microplastics are small pieces of plastic debris that have made a name for themselves in aquatic research as the waste can be found in every facet of aquatic life. Despite microplastics being most discussed in marine research, they are increasingly common and relevant in lake environments as well. Previous research found that “Average microplastic concentrations reported in the Laurentian Great Lakes […] are as high as or greater than that reported from some oceanic gyres.”1,2,3,4 Since microplastics can negatively impact environments, researchers have begun to see the importance of surveying ..read more
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Research Brief: Thermal Vulnerability in a Mountain Watershed
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
2M ago
With air temperature increases reported nearly every year, there’s been a global shift in interest toward understanding how thermal vulnerability impacts ecosystems, habitats and organisms. In particular, it’s become increasingly important to examine the vulnerability of aquatic habitats in response to warming. “Mountain streams sustain unique ecosystems and are important sources of drinking water, culture, and recreation, all of which may be affected by warming.”1,2,3 In order to fully grasp the effects of climate change, it’s important to determine and understand how thermal vulnerabili ..read more
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Research Brief: Compilation of Lake Superior Temperature Data
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
2M ago
Despite the strides made in recent years surrounding remote sensing and environmental IoT technology, multiyear, year-round records of physical parameters in the US-Canada Laurentian Great Lakes are few and far between. Even more so, finding data on subsurface conditions throughout the water column is even rarer. Nevertheless, physical parameters like temperature and currents are part of the fundamental characteristics of the Great Lakes, meaning the data could impact and inform management strategies for state and local groups. A subsurface mooring system with thermistor string attached (Cred ..read more
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Research Brief: Resident Species Aid Invader Evolution
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
2M ago
In the wake of some of the world’s largest recorded algal blooms in history occurring over the past few decades, researchers are left asking how we got here. Nutrient loading and climate change are part of the answer, but another contributor is invading microbial species. Phytoplankton can easily move between systems, eventually taking over the disturbed environment, leading to a host of issues. Understanding how species can invade and thrive in systems that are not conventionally suited for them is essential for resource managers and limnologists examining phenomena like algal bloom ..read more
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Research Brief: Automated Organism Tracking Applications in Microbial Research
Lake Scientist
by Samantha Baxter
3M ago
Photomicrograph depicting the siliceous frustules of fifty species of diatoms arranged within a circular shape. Diatoms form the base of many marine and aquatic food chains and upon death, their glassy frustules form sediments known as diatomaceous earth (Credit: Randolph Femmer / USGS, Public Domain) Plankton recorders have been used for field research dating all the way back to the 1930s and yet, there is still no perfect solution to quantifying plankton community structures and dynamics in aquatic ecosystems.1 Zooplankton and phytoplankton play critical roles in a lake system’s food web a ..read more
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