Determine Critical Nitrogen Loads to Boreal Lake Ecosystems Using the Response of Phytoplankton

Acadia National Park (Maine) & Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

Determine critical nitrogen loads to boreal lake ecosystems using the response of phytoplankton

Jasmine Saros, Carmen Daggett, Heather Arnett

Air pollution has affected and continues to threaten many boreal lake ecosystems in the U.S. national parks. The lakes of Acadia and Isle Royale National Parks have not escaped this source of pollution; in fact, Acadia is situated along a major air pollution pathway for the region. This pollution, which includes the deposition of nitrogen and sulfur compounds, can cause acidification as well as eutrophication (i.e., increased production of algae). Both of these effects strongly control the clarity of lake water, hence there are major implications for the aesthetic and habitat qualities of these lakes. We are working to define a critical nitrogen load to lake ecosystems in both of these parks.