Reconstructing the Effects of Multiple Stressors on Algal Communities in Lakes with Differing Concentrations of Dissolved Organic Carbon

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Kristin Strock




Inland waters are particularly sensitive to environmental changes and a growing body of research points to lakes as sentinels, integrators, and regulators of large-scale stressors such as climate change (Carpenter et al. 2007, Pham et al. 2008, Williamson et al. 2008, Adrian et al. 2009). As low points in the landscape, inland waters receive and process inputs from the surrounding terrestrial environment and atmosphere and respond quickly to changes in precipitation, wind, and solar irradiance (Williamson et al. 2009). The reactions of these sensitive ecosystems to landscape and climatic changes are stored in lake sediments which serve as archives to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem response to changing conditions in the past (Williamson et al. 2009). A first step to understanding how lakes function as sentinels is to distinguish what response variables in lakes may best indicate stressors such as climate change, atmospheric deposition, and human land disturbance (Adrian et al. 2009). Through examining biological and chemical sensitivity to climate and atmospheric deposition, this study aims to assess the effectiveness of lakes in serving as sentinels to environmental drivers of change.

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