This image was sent to us by Jim Cloern, showing his collection of Paerl Lab t-shirts from over the years! Thanks for sharing with us, Jim!
The Paerl Lab was back in the Bay Delta, CA last week! Hans Paerl, Leah Nelson, Alex Sabo, and Haley Plaas were working to continue Haley’s dissertation research which focuses on assessing the linkage between nutrient enrichment, phytoplankton community composition, cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom toxin production, and aerosol formation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River/Bay Delta estuarine ecosystem. This research was accomplished by completing a combination of aerosol measurements and a nutrient addition bioassay experiment. For this trip, an additional nutrient was added to the bioassay: NH4 and NH4 + P! We will be sure to keep you updated as we analyze the data from these experiments.
Special thanks to all of our collaborators at CA-DWR, USGS, and Restore the Delta (and more)!
Meg McCartney Madison Milotte (they/them)
The Paerl Lab welcomes two Field Site students, Madison and Meg, from UNC main campus for the 2022 Fall Semester! These students will work on independent projects in order to learn more about coastal environmental microbiology. We are very excited to work with them this semester!
Prior to sampling on July 12, the Neuse basin had some substantial rain and river peaked on July 12 and 13 at about 4 times the seasonal average. On July 12, the main impact seen on the estuary was freshening of the upper estuary where low salinity water <5 extended downstream to stations 60 and 70. On the previous sampling on June 15, surface water salinity at these stations was ~10. High turbidity, 10 -15 NTU also resulted from the high flow. The estuary was stratified from New Bern to the mouth and bottom waters were hypoxic along that distance. As on June 15, there was a small subsurface maximum of chlorophyll a occurred along the pycnocline at stations 30 and 50. Microscopic examination of station 50 surface water showed the dominant organism was the same as on June 15, the dinoflagellate Levanderina fissa.
The high flows of mid July were short lived and there was hardly any rainfall in the basin in the 2 weeks prior to sampling on 3 August. Conditions on August 3 were nearly identical to those on June 15. Surface salinity at station 60 was about 10 and surface salinity at the mouth was greater 20. Bottom water salinity at the mouth exceeded 25. Stratification was strong upstream near New Bern and moderate in the mid and lower estuary. Hypoxic conditions (< 2 mg/L) occurred in the upper estuary from station 20 to 50. The only area of high chlorophyll was the subsurface patch of high biomass that has apparently persisted at stations 30 and 50 all summer. The sample was again dominated by the dinoflagellate Levanderina fissa but it also contained a diverse mix of diatoms, cryptophytes, chlorophytes, and other dinoflagellates. None of the mixed assemblage are known to be problematic with regard to toxins and fish kills.
I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer and stays cool.
The Paerl Lab was in the Bay Delta, California last week to kick off Haley Plaas’ PhD thesis research, which focuses on assessing the linkage between nutrient enrichment, phytoplankton community composition, cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom toxin production, and aerosol formation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River/Bay Delta estuarine ecosystem. Research Technician, Leah Nelson, accompanied Haley to California where they met up with Seyong, who is one of the Paerl Lab’s summer interns. The bioassay went off without a hitch! We saw surface scums of cyanos at both of our sample locations, Discovery Bay and Stockton. Upon filtering toward the end of the week it appeared as if the P and N+P treatments responded the most, suggesting P limitation at both sites. Early aerosol findings showed Microcystis and other cyanobacterial cells collected from the air. The data will tell us soon, so stay tuned! We want to thank our collaborators at CA-DWR, USGS, and Restore the Delta (and more)!
Over the past week, members of the Paerl Lab were busy at Lake Erie in Put-In-Bay, Ohio as part of a research project called the Lake Erie Center for the Great Lakes and Human Health Project supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The Paerl Lab partners with Justin Chaffin of the F. T. Stone Laboratory Ohio Sea Grant School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University as well as Chris Ward who is a professor at Bowling Green State University, and his students. Hans Paerl, Karen Rossignol and Randy Sloup were accompanied by Madison Sholes, our Scientific Communication Intern, to collect samples and conduct a bioassay. While at Lake Erie, Hans also gave a talk about eutrophication to students and faculty at the Stone Lab. We are excited to go back to Lake Erie in August to conduct another bioassay for this project! Thank you to all of our scientific collaborators which make this research possible!
The Paerl Lab welcomes Madison as our Science Communication Intern for the summer of 2022! Madison is a rising junior at NC State studying marine science. She will be assisting Haley in disseminating scientific information to the public, especially regarding Asphyxiation by Algae. Welcome Madison!
Last week, Jeremy, Alex, and Madison conducted biweekly water quality monitoring on the Neuse River! Jeremy is using a Multiparameter Water Quality Sonde to collect data on the water at each station. This instrument records information such as salinity, pH, temperature and in-situ Chl a concentrations. Alex is collecting water samples for filtering and further analysis back at the lab.
Photos by our Science Communication Intern, Madison Sholes!