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Ongoing Project: Storm Blitz, impacts of storms on phytoplankton composition

Bas Ibelings (University of Geneva, Switzerland), Orlane Anneville (INRA, France), Jason Stockwell and Emily Nodine (University of Vermont), Lars Rudstam and other GLEON collaborators. 

Storm-Blitz is related to the effects of physical disturbances and water column stability on plankton communities. Ongoing GLEON projects have revealed phytoplankton traits associated with stable water column conditions which strengthen our understanding of the role of thermal stratification in steering phytoplankton composition and succession at the annual scale. However, succession can be set back by alterations of the ambient environment due to the intervention of external disturbances such as floods, storms or episodes of increased wind mixing. Consequently, changes in phytoplankton composition are expected to follow the occurrence of extreme meteorological events. Long-term datasets of phytoplankton communities and environmental conditions for several lakes worldwide, including Oneida Lake, will be used to test whether water column disturbance driven by storms affects phytoplankton assembly, in term of diversity, species, and morpho-functional traits. The expected results should facilitate understanding of the sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems to extreme weather events.