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SFS Annual Meeting

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Increased anthropogenic loading of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to aquatic systems has resulted in an increase in the frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms. Despite the prevalence of P limitation in many lakes, there is spatial and temporal variation in limitation patterns, with evidence for both N limitation and co-limitation. In this study, we performed standardized nutrient limitation experiments in 16 lakes across the northeastern United States. After one-week in situ incubations, we measured chlorophyll-a in each of four nutrient treatments (Control, N, P, N&P). Our study lakes show variation in nutrient limitation, with co-limitation occurring in 50% of study lakes. Algal communities in all 16 lakes were dominated by either cyanobacteria or chlorophyta. We used Glass’ delta as a metric for effect size for each type of nutrient limitation, and found that the P effect size was positively correlated to N:P (R2 = 0.30, p = 0.036), suggesting that alleviating P limitation results in the strongest phytoplankton response when lake N concentrations are high relative to P. Given the observed spatial variation, there is a need to increase focus on the factors that determine nutrient limitation type.

Denise Bruesewitz (Primary Presenter/Author), Colby College,;

Brian Kim (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Colby College,;

Abigail Lewis (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Pomona College, ;

Hailee Edwards (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), State University of New York at New Paltz, ;

Heather Wander (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), State University of New York at New Paltz, ;

Alex Taylor (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Vermont,;

Noah Poulin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ryerson University,;

Sarah Princiotta (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Hancock Biological Station, ;

Kiyoko Yokota (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), State University of New York at Oneonta, ;

Courtney Wigdahl-Perry (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), State University of New York at Fredonia, ;

Kevin Rose (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,;

David Richardson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), SUNY New Paltz, Department of Biology,;