Overview

Taxon pages from a project funded by the National Park Service, Air Resources Division, are in progress. The project, Atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen in Grand Teton National Park: determining biological effects on algal communities in alpine lakes was initiated by co-principal investigators S.A. Spaulding, M. Otu, J. Baron, A.P. Wolfe, S. O'Ney, and T. Blett.
 

Atmospheric deposition of Nitrogen 

In western North America, atmospheric sources of inorganic nitrogen (N) (nitrate and ammonium) deposited with rain, snow, or in dry deposition can result in changes in surface water chemistry and in aquatic biota, including diatoms. Scientists have been concerned with N for its acidification effects as well as for its fertilization effects. In nutrient poor environments, including the Rocky Mountains, algae have been well documented to be limited by N. The primary community level change to either acidification or fertilization in the algae is by a shift in species composition. The eutrophication of lakes by deposition of atmospheric N is of great concern in the west, and there is evidence that many historically unproductive lakes and are experiencing increased biological production due to atmospheric N. Increasingly, diatoms associated with human activities are entering new aquatic systems and resulting in dramatic ecosystem change.
 
In this project in Grand Teton National Park, we are determining the effects of atmospheric deposition of N on primary producing organisms (diatoms) by reconstructing the paleolimnological history of diatom species composition in sediments of five lakes. In the process of analyzing the lake sediment core, Otu and Spaulding are posting taxon pages for important lake species. 

Funding

  • National Park Service, Air Resources Division

    Atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen in Grand Teton National Park: determining biological effects on algal communities in alpine lakes - S.A. Spaulding, M. Otu, J. Baron, A.P. Wolfe, S. O'Ney, and T. Blett.

  • University of Wyoming / NPS Field Station

    Atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen in Grand Teton NP: seasonal and millenial impacts on high elevation lakes - S.A. Spaulding, J. Baron and A.P. Wolfe.

Participants

Sarah Spaulding

Ecologist US Geological Survey

Megan Otu

Postdoctoral Fellow INSTAAR, University of Colorado

Marina Potapova

Assistant Curator Diatom Herbarium, Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia of Drexel University

Jill Baron

US Geological Survey and Colorado State University

Alex Wolfe

University of Alberta

Susan O'Ney

National Park Service, Grand Teton National Park

Tamara Blett

National Park Service, Air Resources Division

Ellen Porter

National Park Service, Air Resources Division

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Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
Megan Otu, Postdoctoral Fellow at INSTAAR, University of Colorado directs field work.
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Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
Alexander P. Wolfe with a beautiful sediment core from Whitebark Moraine Pond.
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Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
Field crew in 2010 included students from University of Alberta (H. Mosher), Colorado State University (J. Spencer, B. Osbourne), US Geological Survey (S. Spaulding, J. Baron, M. Otu) and A.P. Wolfe - also from U. Alberta. Not pictured: C. Whaley (National Park Service)
Nps
Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
John Vimont, Bret Schichtel and Tamara Blett, National Park Service, Air Resources Division carry equipment to retrieve sediment traps.
Chad
Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
Chad Whaley, National Park Service, successfully retrieves a sediment trap from Whitebark Moraine Pond.
Marina
Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
Marina Potapova navigates Phelps Lake to determine a site for obtaining a sediment core.
Emma
Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
Emma Jones, University of Alberta, obtains samples for water chemistry from Phelps Lake.