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REDUCED WATER CLARITY IN UNITED STATES RESERVOIRS AS COMPARED TO LAKES: IMPLICATIONS FOR MEDIATING MASS TRANSPORT FROM CONTINENTS TO COASTS

Recent work suggests that lakes and reservoirs differ in key ways that may influence sensitivity to climate change. The goal of this study is to test for differences in water clarity, a key ecological and economic characteristic of lentic environments, between lakes and reservoirs in the United States. We used the EPA National Lake Assessment datasets (2007 and 2012) to compare water clarity (e.g. Secchi depth) and related variables (dissolved organic carbon (DOC), algal biomass, and total suspended solids (TSS)) in lakes (~1,100) and reservoirs (~1,300) over time (2007 and 2012) and at varying spatial scales (national, eco-region, and geographically-paired systems). Reservoirs were less clear than lakes (photic zone half that of a typical lake) largely due to differences in TSS. Lakes had higher DOC and lower algal biomass than reservoirs in 2007, but no significant difference was found in 2012. These findings underscore the important role reservoirs play in mediating sediment transport from continents to coasts as well as their propensity to respond differently to climate change as compared with natural lakes.

Daniel Day (Primary Presenter/Author), Environmental Science Department, Dickinson College, dayd@dickinson.edu;


Kristin Strock ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Environmental Science Department, Dickinson College, strockk@dickinson.edu;


Roxanne Razavi ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, roxrazavi@gmail.com;


Nicole Hayes ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Biology Department, University of Regina, hayes.nicolemarie@gmail.com;


Bridget Deemer ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southwest Biological Science Center, US Geological Survey, bridget.deemer@gmail.com;