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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

The Effect of Temperature Increases on Lake Plankton Community Composition: Implications for the Spread of Invasive Species and Cyanobacterial Blooms

EPA Grant Number: FP917456
Title: The Effect of Temperature Increases on Lake Plankton Community Composition: Implications for the Spread of Invasive Species and Cyanobacterial Blooms
Investigators: Fey, Samuel B
Institution: Dartmouth College
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2015
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2012)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Ecology



This research program has two objectives: First, to understand how increases in climate change may affect the spread of the non-native crustacean Daphnia lumholtzi, and so enhance predictions of how increases in temperature generally may affect the spread of aquatic invasive species. Secondly, the study will investigate how increases in temperature, both directly and through altering lake stratification, may contribute to the occurrence of cyanobacterial blooms.


Field and laboratory studies will be conducted and mathematical models constructed to investigate the potential for climate change to increase the spread of the non-native aquatic crustacean D. lumholtzi, a species currently invading North America. D. lumholtzi is an informative species to study as it provides a general example of how tropical organisms, and difficult-to-consume organisms, may perform in a warmer world. The study also will analyze long-term lake records to assess the relationship between temperature and cyanobacterial blooms.

Expected Results:

Although ecologists have much success in determining how the environment constrains where organisms can survive, predicting the ability of an organism to invade an existing biological community remains challenging, particularly in the face of climate warming. As the successful establishment of non-native species can threaten ecosystem services and cause substantial economic and social burdens, and the rate of non-native species introductions are increasing, the results of this research will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of factors that contribute to a successful biological invasion. Additionally, this work has benefits for lake management strategies seeking to minimize cyanobacterial blooms.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection

This research will help translate the expected increases in temperature predicted as a consequence of climate change into clear biological outcomes. This research likely will yield better predictions of how temperature, both directly and through increasing lake stratification, may affect the ability of aquatic ecosystems to provide important services to humans in the future. As such, this research also will contribute to generating more effective lake management strategies in the face of a warming climate.

Supplemental Keywords:

invasive species, climate change, aquatic ecosystems

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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