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Ongoing Project: Climate change and invasive mussels: interacting effects on New York lakes

Lars Rudstam, Rebecca Schneider, Randy Jackson, Amy Hetherington, JoAnne Getchonis, James Watkins, Edwin Cowen, Nelson Hairston, Art DeGaetano, Gail Steinhart, David White (Cornell University), Steve Effler (UFI), Gideon Gal (Kinneret Laboratory), Paul Hansen (Univ. Wisconsin), Kim Schulz (SUNY-ESF), Matthew Hipsey (Univ. Western Australia). (Funded by a Cornell Hatch grant). 

We are developing a framework for forecasting the simultaneous effects of climate change and quagga mussels using input data from three New York lakes with contrasting physical characteristics. Oneida Lake is large and relatively shallow making the lake polymictic. In this lake, mussels have access to much of the water column most of the year. Onondaga Lake is smaller and undergoes thermal stratification in the summer. As summer progresses, the water below the thermocline becomes depleted of oxygen and goes anoxic by mid-July. This restricts mussels to shallow bottoms close to the shoreline that contains adequate oxygen concentrations throughout the summer. Cayuga Lake is deep (140m) and also thermally stratifies in the summer but does not go anoxic. Quagga mussels therefore occur at all depth in Cayuga Lake. We chose these three lakes because of the existing data on both mussel abundance and lake limnology from all three lakes. In 2015, we exchanged visits with Dr Matthew Hipsey from Western Australia working on incorporating a mussel module in the General Lakes Model being developed by GLEON. The model is running and now needs to be calibrated for Oneida Lake. We will work with Oneida Lake first, and then expand to the other two lakes. The mussel database needed is being updated through 2015 for mussels in Oneida and Onondaga Lake. Data sets for other components are available on line. These data sets will allow us to test the importance of lake morphometry on the interaction between invasive mussels and climate change and therefore generalize across many of the lakes in New York State. Our results will also have relevance beyond New York State as we work with the Global Lakes Environmental Observatory Network (GLEON), an international grassroots organization of researchers, educators, and community groups invested in the future of freshwaters, in developing these models.