(2003) James River-Table Rock Lake - Spatial Distribution and Dynamics of Algae


This study examined the spatial distribution and abundance of plankton in the James River arm of Table Rock Lake, Missouri - a water body under special scrutiny due to deteriorating water quality linked with increased urbanization and livestock operations throughout the watershed.

This study lasted from January 2002 to December 2003, examined transparency measured at each of seven sites along an up-lake to down-lake gradient, and measured phytoplankton and zooplankton densities at two sites at opposite ends of the gradient.

The lake was stratified during April - October of each year and developed an anoxic hypolimnion layer in late summer. Transparency had a spatial trend, with higher average and variability in Secchi depths at down-lake sites as opposed to up-lake sites. Both algae and zooplankton showed rapid seasonal changes, both in total densities and taxonomic composition. Cyanobacteria were more common in the up-lake site. No visible algae blooms were detected at either site during the study. Nevertheless, numerous genera were detected, which are known from other studies to be linked to nuisance blooms, taste, and odor problems.

Among the zooplankton, rotifers were most common, particularly at the up-lake site. Important cladoceran grazers such as Daphnia were rare, but when present, algae abundance was low.