Gerein, K. M.. Univ. of Saskatchewan and National Hydrology Research Centre, katherine.gerein@ec.gc.ca
Evans, M. M.. National Hydrology Research Centre, marlene.evans@ec.gc.ca

 
THE EFFECT OF PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL FACTORS ON THE PHYTOPLANKTON COMMUNITIES OF PRAIRIE SALINE LAKES
 
Prairie saline lakes are unique ecosystems important for economic, ecological and recreational purposes. Studies have been limited, resulting in a gap in the understanding of the dynamics of plankton communities within such lakes. It is known that high salinity and high total phosphorus are correlated and that the zooplankton community exhibits low diversity. It has been demonstrated that mathematical models designed to predict phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass, developed in freshwater systems of comparable total phosphorus concentrations, are not accurate when applied to saline lakes. Historical data sets for 9 Saskatchewan lakes were analysed to examine the relationship between physical, chemical and biological factors and determine their effect on the density and composition of the phytoplankton community. Results have confirmed that there is a decline in the diversity of the phytoplankton species composition and that the edible phytoplankton biomass is higher than the inedible. Results also show that the zooplankton biomass is much higher than would be expected based on the amount of edible algae present, yet despite the intense grazing pressure, these lakes do not display the algal blooms typical of eutrophic freshwater systems. This suggests that saline lakes are possibly more resilient to phosphorus loading than freshwater lakes.
 
Day: Tuesday, Feb. 2
Time: Poster
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS27TU1649S