Algae, a polyphyletic group of aquatic primary producers, play a great part in earth’s biosphere. They produce half of the world’s oxygen and are major contributors to aquatic biodiversity. When conditions are favorable to a species, algae will bloom. Some algal species will produce algal toxins during a bloom as a potential mechanism to concentrate carbon. Due to the integral part they play in aquatic food webs, nutrient cycling and the potential for harmful algal blooms, algal communities are monitored to determine the health and safety of aquatic environments. Lake Sinclair in middle Georgia is a good model where in the same system we can monitor algal biomass in shallow (warmer) and deep (colder) parts of the lake. The conductivity, DO, pH and water temperature were recorded. 132 samples were taken from four shallow sites that were monitored once a month from November 2019 to October 2020 and 48 samples were taken from four deep sites that were monitored from May to August 2020. Algal biomass and community structure for the four shallow and four deep sites were estimated with pigment analyses and microscopical identification and enumeration. An ANOVA two-factor test was performed on the average chlorophyll-a concentration for each month and each site. The difference in average total chlorophyll-a was not significant, but sites varied taxonomically. Shallow sites were more diverse and dominated by chain-forming diatoms. During monitoring, algal species capable of producing toxins were reported in 100% of the sites, but spatial and temporal monitoring did not document any blooms. Low biomass was potentially due to high pH and low light availability due to daily movement of water for hydroelectricity.
Blackledge, Margaret, "Monitoring Lake Sinclair" (2021). Graduate Research Posters. 19.