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Drivers of Global Lake Productivity

In an age of unprecedented global change, it is more important than ever for limnologists to refine our understanding of ecological processes in order to make predictions of freshwater systems will function into the future. Aquatic ecosystems are subjected to multiple concurrent stressors (e.g., warming, changing precipitation regimes, and associated nutrient and organic matter loads), which is affecting lake primary production with cascading effects through the aquatic food web.

In recent years, there has been a revolution in our understanding of limits and controls on lake primary production, but there has been little work done to test newly developed theory in a globally distributed set of lakes. I'm currently working with Dr. Chris Solomon, Dr. Stuart Jones, collaborators within the GLEON network to test the framework proposed by Kelly et al. (2018) which considers how variation in the nutrient stoichiometry of loads and lake size influence the light environment and nutrient availability in lakes, two factors that ultimately influence gross primary production in lakes.


Photo credit: Hannah Beeler

How does hydrologic setting influence lake metabolism?

While ecosystem scientists know a lot about what structures long-term, average (“equilibrium”) metabolism across broad spatial gradients, we have thought less about temporal variation and the interaction between space and time. How does the template of hydrologic setting dictate temporal variation in metabolism?  Our paper is now published in Ecosystems. You can also check out my research talk from ASLO 2021 which summarizes the work. 

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