Intern Project

Water Quality - 8/27/2018

Last month our intern Laura deployed some of her sampling gear in Oswego Lake so you will see some extra buoys around Robinson Point.

Our current intern Laura Costadone is a Ph.D. student at Portland State University collecting data for her research on Oswego Lake. Her work requires more intense monitoring than our normal weekly sampling so you will be seeing her on the lake quite often during her stay. She will be collecting a lot of algae samples this fall and next summer in support of her projects as outlined below.

  • She is working to incorporate molecular tools into a routine harmful algae bloom monitoring program by using DNA extraction techniques to develop a protocol for rapidly assessing a waterbody for the presence of toxin producing cyanobacteria, and the toxin itself. Cyanobacteria may be present (as it always is in Oswego Lake) but only some species have the ability to produce toxins, and even if toxin producing species are present that does not mean they are producing toxins. In addition, the concentration of cyanobacteria has to be above a threshold where there would be enough toxins in the water to cause illness (assuming they were producing toxins). Having a quick way of tracking species presence would allow LOC to take steps to counter any bloom before it gets concentrated enough to cause problems.

  • Her second project is to capture cyanobacteria as they migrate up and down in the water column. The hypothesis is cyanobacteria migrating up from the hypolimnion will have more intercellular phosphorus than the cyanobacteria drifting down from the surface. Laura is deploying traps with two funnels – one facing up and one facing down in order to capture what is migrating in each direction. These traps are hung from a series of five buoys along the southern shoreline mid-lake, adjacent Robinson Point.

Phytoplankton capture device is illustrated above, showing upward and downward facing funnels.

Red square in the above image shows where the phytoplankton traps are located. A closer view is below.

We are excited to have Laura working with us and look forward to her results.