Effects of Multiple Anthropogenic Stressors on Lake Erie and Associated Streams' Algal Assemblages

Sarah Whorley
2018 Figshare  
The Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan region contains over 1.1 million residents on an urban to rural gradient. These populations place a variety of anthropogenic stressors on the streams and rivers that flow into Lake Erie and the lake itself. Excess nutrients and sediments from urban, suburban, and rural communities, wintertime road salt deposition, and fuel-pollution from leisure activities affect aquatic life. Our objective was to analyze the effects these stressors have on the periphytic algae
more » ... e periphytic algae and macroinvertebrates of regional streams and eastern Lake Erie. There is an increasing need to consider how disturbances affect the biochemical composition, specifically essential fatty acids (EFA), of these organisms. Road salts decreased the omega-3 and omega-6 concentrations in both stream periphyton and macroinvertebrates. Broader geographic assessments indicated that periphyton in urban and agricultural streams had higher concentrations of total EFAs than suburban and rural streams. Within eastern Lake Erie, phytoplankton samples near popular fishing locations had greater concentrations of total EFAs than samples collected at locations with less fishing. These findings present a complex assessment of how anthropogenic disturbance is affecting the base of aquatic food webs in the eastern Lake Eire drainage system.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.6512351 fatcat:5nzw2fupcbbcnnqrs6trblbama