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Limnology of Oneida Lake

Lars Rudstam, Kristen Holeck, Christopher Hotaling, Christian Baran, Michael McGuigan (Funded by NYS DEC and Cornell University).

Studies on lower trophic levels than fish started already in the 1960s in recognition of the importance of ecosystems and food web interactions for understanding fisheries.  This program expanded through the effort of the second director of the station, Ed Mills. Sampling includes physical metrics such as temperature, oxygen and water clarity, nutrients (P, N, Si), phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, and mussels.  This data series is important not only for Oneida Lake but for analysis of the dynamics of ecosystems and effects of climate trends across the world. The program is tightly coupled with the fisheries studies, and the arrival of Bythotrephes, the return of Hexagenia, and the decline in quagga mussels and other benthic invertebrates following the arrival of round goby are all subjects of analyses and mechanistic studies.  The displacement of zebra mussels by quagga mussels by 2009 accentuated the effect of mussels on the ecosystem. However, recent declines in quagga mussels in particular have decreased mussel effects particularly in early spring and late fall.  In 2021, we continued with monitoring P in streams and conducted experiments on P excretion by quagga mussels, surveyed Hexagenia abundance, and analyzed causes for their reappearance.  The Oneida Lake limnological data was used in several comparisons of lake ecosystems around the globe through collaborations with the GLEON (Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network). In 2021, we collaborated in five such publications on (1) ice formation across the world, (2) bluegreen blooms in oligotrophic lakes, (3) the effect of land use on cyanobacteria blooms, (4) the importance of winter hydrology for summer chlorophyll, and (5) the extent that storms affect temperature structure of lakes (see publication list).