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Lecture: The Diverse and Surprising Effects of Cyanobacterial Blooms on Lake Ecosystems and Food Webs

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
4:00 AM
Gates Lecture Hall, University of Michigan Biological Station on Douglas Lake, 9133 Biological Road, Pellston.

This is part of our Summer Lecture Series. All events are free and open to the public.

Aquatic cyanobacteria are a type of phytoplankton commonly found in most freshwater and marine ecosystems that can occasionally create visible surface scums, known as blooms. Cyanobacterial blooms are generally thought to have strong negative effects on food webs due to their toxins, poor food quality for zooplankton grazers, and post-bloom anoxia. Because the prevalence and duration of cyanobacterial blooms are increasing globally, Carey has conducted several field and laboratory experiments testing the effects of cyanobacteria in lakes in the northeastern U.S. Her research demonstrates that in nutrient-limited ecosystems, cyanobacteria may have stimulatory effects on plankton food webs by increasing nutrients, and thus could accelerate eutrophication. Furthermore, the transition from a stimulatory to an inhibitory effect of cyanobacterial blooms on food webs may be controlled by lake nutrient concentrations, highlighting the context-dependency of cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater ecosystems. Cayelan Carey is a Ph.D. candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. She has an A.B. in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Institute of Limnology at Uppsala University, Sweden.