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SFS Annual Meeting

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Overgrowth or “blooms” of Didymosphenia geminata (Didymo) have increased across North America in recent decades and the cause still unknown. Blooms can wreak havoc on water infrastructure and have ecological consequences for stream ecosystems. Didymo overgrowth is linked to conditions of low phosphorus, low turbidity, and low streamflow. Because glacier meltwaters are richer in particulates and phosphorus, the loss of glaciers in the mountain west could be a driving factor in the increase in Didymo blooms. Here, we examine the relationship between declining glacial cover and Didymo blooms in the Mountain West. We will assess the relationship between glaciated streams and the presence of Didymo to assess if declining glacial cover is leading to increased Didymo presence. We will accomplish this by pairing field observations with a controlled experiment wherein we will manipulate physical conditions to simulate degrees of glacierization. By understanding the cause of Didymo overgrowth we are better able to manage valuable aquatic resources.

Lindsay Capito (Primary Presenter/Author), Utah State University ,;