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Reservoir Observer Student Scientists
Filling the gap of shoulder season limnology
Rebecca L North
Assistant Professor of Water Quality
School of Natural Resources
University of Missouri
Citizen Science
Apps
• Bloomwatch
– Tracking cyanobacteria
blooms
• Lake Observer
– To facilitate data sharing of
lake and water info
• Great Lakes Early
Detection Network
– For identifying invasive
species – LOTS of photos
THE LAKES OF MISSOURI
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
WWW.LMVP.ORG
• 60 Reservoirs
• 105 Sample Sites
• ~135 Active
Volunteers
2018 Monitoring Sites Since 1992
• 111 Reservoirs
• 257 Sites
• Over 15,000
monitoring visits
-Season runs year-round
-Sample every week
-Fifty-two samples per season
Jan DecMarch July Aug Sept Oct NovFeb Apr May June
Objectives of ROSS
Research Questions:
1. Quantify Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms
(CyanoHABs) and algal-toxins through the whole
year (including winter and shoulder seasons).
2. How do CyanoHABs and toxin production relate
to physical, chemical, and biological parameters?
Through a partnership between high school students and their
teachers, extension representatives, and the MU Limnology Lab, the
ROSS Program seeks to engage youth to assess the year-round
presence and severity of CyanoHABs and their associated toxins
Training of students that will become
future decision makers and regulators
• Actively engage students in student-centered, inquiry-based,
and project-based learning experiences
• Student pre- and post-activity surveys to determine if there
was a significant change after participating in the program
• Designed to assess the student’s knowledge, self-efficacy,
attitudes and behavior about water quality and limnology
Formative Evaluation
• Race, gender, and ethnicity all had an effect on self-reported
action.
• Students who identified as non-white or Hispanic were more
likely to identify lower on the Likert scale in self-efficacy for
attitude and action.
• In future years, reach out to students who have graduated to
see if their participation had any impact on their career
choices.
Effectiveness of the ROSS Program
• Exit survey results revealed that 76% of the students
correctly answered the questions about limnology.
• We also asked them to list one topic they learned
from participating in the ROSS project and their
responses included:
“How to test water quality, and how to analyze what
those tests mean”
“I learned about stratification and the differences
between dimictic, monomictic, and polymictic lakes”
“I have learned that taking water samples and find the
depths of lakes is easy but it time consuming”.
Effectiveness of the ROSS Program
• 62% of students felt that science experiments can help them
better understand the real world and that collecting evidence
is an important part of making a decision.
• What they liked about the ROSS project:
“going to the lake”
Class Activities
1. Make a bathymetric map
2. Deploy thermistor chain to measure temperature in
hour increments
3. Weekly sampling for water quality parameters
Field & lab components
Bathymetric Map
A topographic map of water depth
Shows you the shallow and deep spots.
Can be used to calculate the lake’s volume of water.
Volume is used to calculate the hydrology.
(hydrology = annual water inputs relative to volume)
Need depth readings and GPS location
Thermistor Chain to measure
temperature through water column on
hourly basis
Allows us to see if Lake thermally stratifies.
If it stratifies, is it stable or does it mix frequently.
Frequent mixing means more influence from the lake sediment.
Thermistor Chain to measure
temperature through water column on
hourly basis
Bethel Lake Temperature Profile
October 2017 through January 2018
Temperature-Depth Profiles
Parameters Monitored
• Algae/Chlorophyll
Algae are important !
Too much algae can
• lead to extreme changes in
oxygen levels
• lead to odor and taste
problems
• be toxic
Algal biomass proxy
• Light
Requirements for Algae Growth
• Nutrients
(Mainly Nitrogen and Phosphorus)
Parameters Monitored
• Algae/Chlorophyll
• Water Clarity
• Water Clarity
Secchi Disk
Parameters Monitored
• Algae/Chlorophyll
• Water Clarity
• Nitrogen & Phosphorus
Nitrogen & Phosphorus
Algal nutrient- Phosphorus
Algal nutrient- Nitrogen
Parameters Monitored
• Algae/Chlorophyll
• Water Clarity
• Nitrogen & Phosphorus
• Suspended Sediment
Suspended Sediments
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Susp.Sediment(mg/L)
Observation
Bethel Lake Suspended Sediment
November 2017 – May 2018
Parameters Monitored
• Algae/Chlorophyll
• Water Clarity
• Nitrogen & Phosphorus
• Suspended Sediment
• Algal Toxins
Cyanotoxins
High quality data
Preliminary Conclusions
• Nutrient and chlorophyll a concentrations varied throughout the year, but
were significantly higher in the fall than in early summer.
• Although concentrations were low, cyanotoxins were present year-round.
• Cylindrospermopsin concentrations were significantly higher November
through January than in April and June, while microcystin concentrations
did not significantly vary throughout the year.
• As the ROSS program grows, study sites will be expanded throughout five
additional states, across a range of water bodies with various levels of ice
cover during the winter.
• This partnership not only provides valuable new insights into shoulder
and winter season limnology, but allows for the education and
empowerment of students to be knowledgeable about their local water
resources.
Acknowledgements
Special thanks to the Environmental Science students at Rock
Bridge High School for sample collection and to members of the
MU Limnology Lab for their guidance and support of this project.
This work was supported with funds from the North Central
Region Water Network
Reservoir observer student scientists: filling the
gap of shoulder season limnology

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Workshop 1 - Rebecca North

  • 1. Reservoir Observer Student Scientists Filling the gap of shoulder season limnology Rebecca L North Assistant Professor of Water Quality School of Natural Resources University of Missouri
  • 3. Apps • Bloomwatch – Tracking cyanobacteria blooms • Lake Observer – To facilitate data sharing of lake and water info • Great Lakes Early Detection Network – For identifying invasive species – LOTS of photos
  • 4. THE LAKES OF MISSOURI VOLUNTEER PROGRAM WWW.LMVP.ORG
  • 5. • 60 Reservoirs • 105 Sample Sites • ~135 Active Volunteers 2018 Monitoring Sites Since 1992 • 111 Reservoirs • 257 Sites • Over 15,000 monitoring visits
  • 6. -Season runs year-round -Sample every week -Fifty-two samples per season
  • 7. Jan DecMarch July Aug Sept Oct NovFeb Apr May June
  • 8. Objectives of ROSS Research Questions: 1. Quantify Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (CyanoHABs) and algal-toxins through the whole year (including winter and shoulder seasons). 2. How do CyanoHABs and toxin production relate to physical, chemical, and biological parameters? Through a partnership between high school students and their teachers, extension representatives, and the MU Limnology Lab, the ROSS Program seeks to engage youth to assess the year-round presence and severity of CyanoHABs and their associated toxins
  • 9.
  • 10. Training of students that will become future decision makers and regulators • Actively engage students in student-centered, inquiry-based, and project-based learning experiences • Student pre- and post-activity surveys to determine if there was a significant change after participating in the program • Designed to assess the student’s knowledge, self-efficacy, attitudes and behavior about water quality and limnology
  • 11. Formative Evaluation • Race, gender, and ethnicity all had an effect on self-reported action. • Students who identified as non-white or Hispanic were more likely to identify lower on the Likert scale in self-efficacy for attitude and action. • In future years, reach out to students who have graduated to see if their participation had any impact on their career choices.
  • 12. Effectiveness of the ROSS Program • Exit survey results revealed that 76% of the students correctly answered the questions about limnology. • We also asked them to list one topic they learned from participating in the ROSS project and their responses included: “How to test water quality, and how to analyze what those tests mean” “I learned about stratification and the differences between dimictic, monomictic, and polymictic lakes” “I have learned that taking water samples and find the depths of lakes is easy but it time consuming”.
  • 13. Effectiveness of the ROSS Program • 62% of students felt that science experiments can help them better understand the real world and that collecting evidence is an important part of making a decision. • What they liked about the ROSS project: “going to the lake”
  • 14. Class Activities 1. Make a bathymetric map 2. Deploy thermistor chain to measure temperature in hour increments 3. Weekly sampling for water quality parameters Field & lab components
  • 15.
  • 16. Bathymetric Map A topographic map of water depth Shows you the shallow and deep spots. Can be used to calculate the lake’s volume of water. Volume is used to calculate the hydrology. (hydrology = annual water inputs relative to volume)
  • 17. Need depth readings and GPS location
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20. Thermistor Chain to measure temperature through water column on hourly basis Allows us to see if Lake thermally stratifies. If it stratifies, is it stable or does it mix frequently. Frequent mixing means more influence from the lake sediment.
  • 21. Thermistor Chain to measure temperature through water column on hourly basis
  • 22. Bethel Lake Temperature Profile October 2017 through January 2018
  • 24.
  • 27. Too much algae can • lead to extreme changes in oxygen levels • lead to odor and taste problems • be toxic
  • 28.
  • 30. • Light Requirements for Algae Growth • Nutrients (Mainly Nitrogen and Phosphorus)
  • 31. Parameters Monitored • Algae/Chlorophyll • Water Clarity • Water Clarity Secchi Disk
  • 32. Parameters Monitored • Algae/Chlorophyll • Water Clarity • Nitrogen & Phosphorus
  • 36. Parameters Monitored • Algae/Chlorophyll • Water Clarity • Nitrogen & Phosphorus • Suspended Sediment
  • 38. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Susp.Sediment(mg/L) Observation Bethel Lake Suspended Sediment November 2017 – May 2018
  • 39. Parameters Monitored • Algae/Chlorophyll • Water Clarity • Nitrogen & Phosphorus • Suspended Sediment • Algal Toxins
  • 40.
  • 43. Preliminary Conclusions • Nutrient and chlorophyll a concentrations varied throughout the year, but were significantly higher in the fall than in early summer. • Although concentrations were low, cyanotoxins were present year-round. • Cylindrospermopsin concentrations were significantly higher November through January than in April and June, while microcystin concentrations did not significantly vary throughout the year. • As the ROSS program grows, study sites will be expanded throughout five additional states, across a range of water bodies with various levels of ice cover during the winter. • This partnership not only provides valuable new insights into shoulder and winter season limnology, but allows for the education and empowerment of students to be knowledgeable about their local water resources.
  • 44. Acknowledgements Special thanks to the Environmental Science students at Rock Bridge High School for sample collection and to members of the MU Limnology Lab for their guidance and support of this project. This work was supported with funds from the North Central Region Water Network
  • 45. Reservoir observer student scientists: filling the gap of shoulder season limnology