RACC intern Némesis Ortiz and UVM intern Bradley Roy worked with Dr. Jason Stockwell to learn how several water quality parameters may have an impact on food webs in Shelburne Pond. Interns collected water samples at different depths using a peristaltic pump, and used different water quality sensors, including the Sonde (temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, depth, chlorophyll and blue green algae concentration), a PAR sensor (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) and temperature sensors. Other methods included using the Secchi disk for turbidity measurements, weather data collection, and the preparation of water samples in the lab
The goal was to answer questions about how environmental conditions are impacting the algal growth in Shelburne Pond, and to connect those results with what is occurring in Missisquoi Bay. Némesis was specifically interested in how wind speed affected water column stability and to see the effects of wind mixing on blue green algae concentrations at Shelburne Pond and Missisquoi Bay. The interns were 'lucky' enough to document an algal bloom in the pond when nutrient influx and temperature conditions were 'just right' for expansive algal growth!
Intern Christine worked with Dr. Jason Stockwell and graduate student Trevor Gearhart on a project testing the hypotheses that a positive linear correlation exists between phytoplankton biodiversity and zooplankton biodiversity, and that phyto- and zooplankton biodiversity are maximized at intermediate lake productivity. She was also assisting Trevor with his graduate project.
Katie Bryan also worked with Dr. Jason Stockwell and graduate student Trevor Gearhart over the summer. She worked to determine the fatty acid composition of phytoplankton and other small organisms and compared them to other organisms in the vast food web of Lake Champlain.