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Climate Change Institute

Jasmine Saros

Associate Director & Professor Climate Change Institute & School of Biology & Ecology

Jasmine Saros

Contact Information


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137 Sawyer Research Center
University of Maine 
Orono, ME  04469

Research interests

My main research interests involve paleolimnology and phytoplankton ecology, as I use diatom fossil records in lake sediments to reconstruct environmental change over time. My approach differs from conventional reconstructions involving diatom profiles in that I apply information from both field observations and bioassays to the sediment records, and I use patterns in the sediment record to pose testable hypotheses about mechanisms driving observed changes.

My current research in the Beartooth Mountain Range of the central Rocky Mountains focuses on understanding how the interactive effects of enhanced atmospheric nitrogen deposition and climate change may be driving observed shifts in alpine diatom communities. We have also recently discovered key linkages between melting alpine glaciers and the nitrogen cycle in alpine ecosystems. I also use algal ecology as a tool to investigate indirect lake-climate interactions, particularly the linkage between lake-water chemistry and climate, in saline lakes of the northern Great Plains.


  • Saros, J.E. & N.J. Anderson. 2015. The ecology of the planktonic diatom Cyclotella and its implications for global environmental change studies. Biological Reviews 90: 522-541.
  • Slemmons, K.E.H., Saros, J.E., Stone, J.R., McGowan, S., Hess, C.T. & D. Cahl. 2015. Effects of glacier meltwater on the algal sedimentary record of an alpine lake in the central US Rocky Mountains. Journal of Paleolimnology 53: 385-399.
  • Solomon, C.T., Jones, S.E., Weidel, B.C., Buffam, I., Fork, M.L., Karlsson, J., Larsen, S., Lennon, J.T., Read, J.S., Sadro, S. & J.E. Saros. 2015. Ecosystem consequences of changing inputs of terrestrial dissolved organic matter to lakes: current knowledge and future challenges. Ecosystems 18: 376-389.
  • Daggett, C.T., Saros, J.E., Lafrancois, B.M., Simon, K.S. & A. Amirbahman. 2015. Effects of increased concentrations of inorganic nitrogen and dissolved organic matter on phytoplankton in boreal lakes with differing nutrient limitation patterns. Aquatic Sciences 77: 511-521.
  • Demi, L.M., Simon, K.S., Anderson, D., Coghlan, S.M., Saros, J.E. & R. Saunders. 2015. Trophic status may influence top-down effects of anadromous alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) in lakes. Hydrobiologia 758: 47-59.
  • Rose, K.C., Williamson, C.E., Kissman, C.E.H. & J.E. Saros. 2015. Does allochthony in lakes change across an elevation gradient? Ecology 96: 3281-3291.
  • Saros, J.E., Osburn, C.L., Northington, R.M., Birkel, S.D., Auger, J.D., Stedmon, C.A. & N.J. Anderson. 2015. Recent decrease in DOC concentrations in arctic lakes of southwest Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters 42: 6703-6709, doi: 10.1002/2015GL065075
  • Saros, J.E., Strock, K.E., McCue, J., Hogan, E. & N.J. Anderson. 2014. Response of Cyclotella species to nutrients and incubation depth in Arctic lakes. Journal of Plankton Research 36: 450-460.
  • Apollonio, S. & J.E. Saros. 2014. Temporal and spatial dynamics of ice-covered Upper Dumbell Lake (Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada) during the summer of 1959. Arctic, Antarctic & Alpine Research 46: 1-15.
  • Strock, K.E., Nelson, S.J., Kahl, J.S., Saros, J.E. & W.H. McDowell. 2014. Decadal trends reveal recent acceleration in the rate of recovery from acidification in the Northeastern U.S. Environmental Science & Technology 48: 4681-4689.
  • Wigdahl, C.R., Saros, J.E., Fritz, S.C., Stone, J.R. & D.R. Engstrom. 2014. The influence of basin morphometry on the regional coherence of patterns of diatom-inferred salinity in lakes of the northern Great Plains (USA). The Holocene 24: 603-613.
  • Rose, K.C., Hamilton, D.P., Williamson, C.E., McBride, C.G., Fischer, J.M., Olson, M.H., Saros, J.E., Allan, M.G. & N. Cabrol. 2014. Light attenuation characteristics of glacially-fed lakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 119: 1446-1457.
  • Wolfe, A.P., Hobbs, W.O., Birks, H.H., Briner, J.P., Holmgren, S.U., Ingolfsson, O., Kaushal, S.S., Miller, G.H., Pagani, M., Saros, J.E. &R.D. Vinebrooke. 2013. Stratigraphic expressions of the Holocene-Anthropocene transition revealed in sediments from remote lakes. Earth-Science Reviews 116: 17-34.
  • Apollonio, S. & J.E. Saros. 2013. Over-winter observations of the freshwater copepod Limnocalanus macrurus in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, September 1961-July 1962: numbers, weights, respiration. Arctic 66: 37-42.
  • Strock, K.E., Saros, J.E., Simon, K.S., McGowan, S. & M.T. Kinnison. 2013. Cascading effects of generalist fish introduction in oligotrophic lakes. Hydrobiologia 711: 99-113.
  • Kissman, C.E.H., Williamson, C.E., Rose, K.C. & J.E. Saros. 2013. Response of phytoplankton in an alpine lake to inputs of dissolved organic matter through nutrient enrichment and trophic forcing. Limnology & Oceanography 58: 867-880.
  • Tuckett, Q., Simon, K.S., Saros, J.E., Halliwell, D.B. & M.T. Kinnison. 2013. Fish trophic divergence along a lake productivity gradient revealed by historic patterns of invasion and eutrophication. Freshwater Biology 58: 2517-2531.
  • Slemmons, K.E.H., Saros, J.E. & K.S. Simon. 2013. The influence of glacial meltwater on alpine aquatic ecosystems: a review. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts 15: 1794-1806.
  • Saros, J.E., Stone, J.R., Pederson, G.T., Slemmons, K.E.H., Spanbauer, T., Schliep, A., Cahl, D., Williamson, C.E. & D.R. Engstrom. 2012. Climate-induced changes in lake ecosystem structure inferred from coupled neo- and paleo-ecological approaches. Ecology 93: 2155-2164.
  • Slemmons, K.E.H. & J.E. Saros. 2012. Implications of nitrogen-rich glacial meltwater for phytoplankton diversity and productivity in alpine lakes. Limnology & Oceanography 57: 1651-1663.
  • Nanus, L., Clow, D.W., Saros. J.E., Stephens, V.C. & D.H. Campbell. 2012. Mapping critical loads of nitrogen deposition for aquatic ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains, USA. Environmental Pollution 166: 125-135.
  • Arnett, H.A., Saros, J.E. & M.A. Mast. 2012. A caveat regarding diatom-inferred nitrogen concentrations in oligotrophic lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology 47: 277-291.
  • Holtgrieve, G.W, Schindler, D.E., Hobbs, W.O., Leavitt, P.R., Ward, E.J., Bunting, L., Chen, G., Finney, B.P., Gregory-Eaves, I., Holmgren, S., Lisac, M.J., Lisi, P.J., Nydick, K., Rogers, L.A., Saros, J.E., Selbie, D.T., Shapley, M.D., Walsh, P.B. & A.P. Wolfe. 2011. A coherent signature of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition to watersheds of the Northern Hemisphere. Science 334: 1545-1548.
  • Osburn, C.L., Wigdahl, C.R., Fritz, S.C. & J.E. Saros. 2011. Dissolved organic matter composition and photoreactivity in prairie lakes of the U.S. Great Plains. Limnology &
    Oceanography 56: 2371-2390.
  • Fischer, J.M., Olson, M.H., Williamson, C.E., Everhart, J.C., Hogan, P.J., Mack, J.A., Rose, K.C., Saros, J.E., Stone, J.R. & R.D. Vinebrooke. 2011. Implications of climate change for Daphnia in alpine lakes: predictions from long-term dynamics, spatial distribution, and a short-term experiment. Hydrobiologia 676: 263-277.
  • Ballantyne, A.P., Brahney, J., Fernandez, D., Lawrence, C.L., Saros, J.E. & J.C. Neff. 2011. Biogeochemical response of alpine lakes to a recent increase in dust deposition in the Southwestern U.S. Biogeosciences 8: 2689-2706.
  • Norton, S.A., Perry, R.H., Saros, J.E., Jacobson, G.L., Fernandez, I.J., Kopacek, J., Wilson, T.A. & M.D. SanClements. 2011. The controls on phosphorus availability in a boreal lake ecosystem since deglaciation. Journal of Paleolimnology 46: 107-122.
  • Lake, B.A., Wigdahl, C.R., Strock, K.E., Saros, J.E. & A. Amirbahman. 2011. Multi-proxy paleolimnological assessment of biogeochemical versus food web controls on the trophic states of two shallow, mesotrophic lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology 46: 45-57.
  • Saros, J.E., Clow, D.W., Blett, T. & A.P. Wolfe. 2011. Critical nitrogen deposition loads in high-elevation lakes of the western U.S. inferred from paleolimnological records. Water, Air & Soil Pollution 216: 193-202.
  • Saros, J.E., Rose, K.C., Clow, D.W., Stephens, V.C., Nurse, A.B., Arnett, H.A., Stone, J.R., Williamson, C.E. & A.P. Wolfe. 2010. Melting alpine glaciers enrich high-elevation lakes with reactive nitrogen. Environmental Science & Technology 44: 4891-4896
  • Hobbs, W.O., Telford, R.J., Birks, H.J.B., Saros, J.E., Hazewinkel, R.R.O., Perren, B.B., Saulnier-Talbot, E. & A.P. Wolfe. 2010. Quantifying recent ecological changes in remote lakes of North America and Greenland using sediment diatom assemblages. PLoS One 5(4): e10026. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010026.
  • Williamson, C.E., Salm, C.R., Cooke, S.L. & J.E. Saros. 2010. How do UV, temperature, and zooplankton influence the dynamics of alpine phytoplankton communities? Hydrobiologia 648: 73-81.
  • Williamson, C.E., Saros, J.E. & D.W. Schindler. 2009. Sentinels of change. Science 323: 887-888.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Saros, J.E. 2009. Integrating neo- and paleolimnological approaches to refine interpretation of environmental change. Journal of Paleolimnology 42: 243-252.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Salm, C.R., Saros, J.E., Fritz, S.C., Osburn, C.L. & D.M. Reineke. 2009. Phytoplankton productivity across prairie saline lakes of the Great Plains (USA): A step toward deciphering patterns through lake classification models. Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 66: 1435-1448.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Salm, C.R., Saros, J.E., Martin, C.S. & J.M. Erickson. 2009. Patterns of seasonal
    phytoplankton distribution in prairie saline lakes of the northern Great Plains (U.S.A.) Saline Systems 5:1-13.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Winn, N., Williamson, C.E., Abbitt, R., Rose, K., Renwick, W., Henry, M. & J.E. Saros. 2009. Modeling dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in subalpine and alpine lakes with GIS and remote sensing. Landscape Ecology 24: 807-816.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Rose, K.C., Williamson, C.E., Saros, J.E., Sommaruga, R. & J.M. Fischer. 2009. Differences in UV transparency and thermal structure between alpine and subalpine lakes: implications for organisms. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 8: 1244-1256.
  • Scott, C.E., Saros, J.E., Williamson, C.E., Salm, C.R., Peters, S.C. & D.L. Mitchell. 2009. Effects of nutrients and dissolved organic matter on the response of phytoplankton to ultraviolet radiation: experimental comparison in spring versus summer. Hydrobiologia 619: 155-166.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Williamson, C.E., Saros, J.E., Vincent, W.F. & J.P. Smol. 2009. Lakes and reservoirs as
  • Williamson, C.E., Saros, J.E., Vincent, W.F. & J.P. Smol. 2009. Lakes and reservoirs as
    sentinels, integrators, and regulators of climate change. Limnology & Oceanography 54: 2273-2282.
  • Kessler, K., Lockwood, R.S., Williamson, C.E. & J.E. Saros. 2008. Vertical distribution of zooplankton in subalpine and alpine lakes: Ultraviolet radiation, fish predation and the transparency-gradient hypothesis. Limnology & Oceanography 53: 2374-2382.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Peters, S.C., Lockwood, R., Williamson, C.E. & J.E. Saros. 2008. Using elemental ratios of
    calcium and strontium to track calcium availability in the freshwater zooplankton Daphnia pulicaria. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 113, G04023, doi:10.1029/2008JG000782

  • Cooke, S.L., Williamson, C.E. & J.E. Saros. 2006. How do temperature, dissolved organic matter and nutrients influence the response of Leptodiaptomus ashlandi to UV radiation in a subalpine lake? Freshwater Biology 51: 1827-1837.

  • Michel, T.J., Saros, J.E., Interlandi, S.J. & A.P. Wolfe. 2006. Resource requirements of four freshwater diatom taxa determined by in situ growth bioassays using natural populations from alpine lakes. Hydrobiologia 568: 235-243.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Fritz, S.C. & J.E. Saros. 2006. Paleolimnology and Paleohydrology. In Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences, volume 3: Ecological and Hydrological Interactions. M.G. Anderson, editor-in-chief. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Doyle, S.A., Saros, J.E. & C.E. Williamson. 2005. Interactive effects of temperature and nutrient limitation on the response of alpine phytoplankton growth to ultraviolet radiation. Limnology & Oceanography 50: 1362-1367.
  • Saros, J.E., Michel, T.J., Interlandi, S.J. & A.P. Wolfe. 2005. Resource requirements of Asterionella formosa and Fragilaria crotonensis in oligotrophic alpine lakes: implications for recent phytoplankton community reorganizations. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62: 1681-1689.
  • Saros, J.E., Interlandi, S.J., Doyle, S.A., Michel, T.J. & C.E. Williamson. 2005. Are the deep chlorophyll maxima in alpine lakes primarily induced by nutrient availability, not UV avoidance? Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research 37: 557-563.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Saros, J.E., Interlandi, S.J., Wolfe, A.P. & D.R. Engstrom. 2003. Recent changes in the diatom community structure of lakes in the Beartooth Mountain Range (USA). Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research 35: 18-23.
  • Saros, J. E., & S. C. Fritz. 2002. Resource competition among saline-lake diatoms under varying N:P ratios, salinity, and brine type. Freshwater Biology 46: 1-9.
  • Saros, J. E., Fritz, S. C., & A. J. Smith. 2000. Shifts in mid- to late-Holocene anion composition in Elk Lake (Grant County, Minnesota): comparison of diatom and ostracode inferences. Quaternary International 67: 37-46.
  • Saros, J. E., & S. C. Fritz. 2000. Changes in the growth rates of saline-lake diatoms in response to variation in salinity, brine type, and nitrogen form. Journal of Plankton Research 22: 1071-1083.
  • Saros, J. E., & S. C. Fritz. 2000. Nutrients as a mechanistic link between ionic concentration/composition and diatom distributions in saline lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology 23: 449-453.

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