Watershed Moments - Newsletter Article


Andrew Schroth Wins New NSF Award to Study Phosphorus-Iron Dynamics in Sediment and Water - A key driver of algal blooms

Dr. Andrew Schroth, VT EPSCoR Science Leader and Research Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of Vermont, has been awarded a three-year award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study phosphorus (P) loading from lake sediments in Lake Champlain. The collaborative award that will have implications for freshwater systems also includes Dr. Greg Druschel, Adjunct Associate Professor of Geology at the University of Vermont and Associate Professor, Earth Sciences, at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. 

The award brings in $250,000 to the University of Vermont. Phosphorus is particularly important to understand in Vermont given the new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)s established by the EPA for Lake Champlain, as well as its role in promoting and sustaining algal blooms. Schroth explained that this award "stems directly from our collaboration in Research on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin (RACC) and is a logical next step towards improving our understanding phosphorus in Lake Champlain. We envision that this work will provide insights on improving water quality, and ideas around the potential use of legacy pollutant phosphorus in a world where accessible P supplies are actually dwindling". The work in Vermont "will use cutting-edge analytical methods and experiments to study in great detail the interaction between phosphorus and iron minerals in lake sediment and water of Missisquoi Bay during different times of the year and under fluctuating conditions. In fact, one reason that Missisquoi Bay sediments are ideal for this study is because we have characterized the system's biogeochemistry so thoroughly under RACC. New experiments can be realistically derived from our data collected in the Bay over the past 5 years ".