Lake Granbury and Lake Whitney Assessment Initiative Final Scientific/Technical Report Summary

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A team of Texas AgriLife Research, Baylor University and University of Texas at Arlington researchers studied the biology and ecology of Prymnesium parvum (golden algae) in Texas lakes using a three-fold approach that involved system-wide monitoring, experimentation at the microcosm and mesocosm scales, and mathematical modeling. The following are conclusions, to date, regarding this organism’s ecology and potential strategies for mitigation of blooms by this organism. In-lake monitoring revealed that golden algae are present throughout the year, even in lakes where blooms do not occur. Compilation of our field monitoring data with data collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife and ... continued below

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4.03 MB; 52 figures; 122 pages; Appendix A-G 60 MB

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Harris, B.L.; Roelke, Daniel; Brooks, Bryan & Grover, James October 11, 2010.

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Description

A team of Texas AgriLife Research, Baylor University and University of Texas at Arlington researchers studied the biology and ecology of Prymnesium parvum (golden algae) in Texas lakes using a three-fold approach that involved system-wide monitoring, experimentation at the microcosm and mesocosm scales, and mathematical modeling. The following are conclusions, to date, regarding this organism’s ecology and potential strategies for mitigation of blooms by this organism. In-lake monitoring revealed that golden algae are present throughout the year, even in lakes where blooms do not occur. Compilation of our field monitoring data with data collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Brazos River Authority (a period spanning a decade) revealed that inflow and salinity variables affect bloom formations. Thresholds for algae populations vary per lake, likely due to adaptations to local conditions, and also to variations in lake-basin morphometry, especially the presence of coves that may serve as hydraulic storage zones for P. parvum populations. More specifically, our in-lake monitoring showed that the highly toxic bloom that occurred in Lake Granbury in the winter of 2006/2007 was eliminated by increased river inflow events. The bloom was flushed from the system. The lower salinities that resulted contributed to golden algae not blooming in the following years. However, flushing is not an absolute requirement for bloom termination. Laboratory experiments have shown that growth of golden algae can occur at salinities ~1-2 psu but only when temperatures are also low. This helps to explain why blooms are possible during winter months in Texas lakes. Our in-lake experiments in Lake Whitney and Lake Waco, as well as our laboratory experiments, revealed that cyanobacteria, or some other bacteria capable of producing algicides, were able to prevent golden algae from blooming. Identification of this organism is a high priority as it may be a key to managing golden algae blooms. Our numerical modeling results support the idea that cyanobacteria, through allelopathy, control the timing of golden algae blooms in Lake Granbury. The in-lake experiments in Lake Whitney and Lake Waco also revealed that as golden algae blooms develop, there are natural enemies (a species of rotifer, and a virus) that help slow the population growth. Again, better characterization of these organisms is a high priority as it may be key to managing golden algae blooms. Our laboratory and in-lake experiments and field monitoring have shown that nutrient additions will remove toxicity and prevent golden algae from blooming. In fact, other algae displace the golden algae after nutrient additions. Additions of ammonia are particularly effective, even at low doses (much lower than what is employed in fish hatchery ponds). Application of ammonia in limited areas of lakes, such as in coves, should be explored as a management option. The laboratory experiments and field monitoring also show that the potency of toxins produced by P. parvum is greatly reduced when water pH is lower, closer to neutral levels. Application of mild acid to limited areas of lakes (but not to a level where acidic conditions are created), such as in coves, should be explored as a management option. Finally, our field monitoring and mathematical modeling revealed that flushing/dilution at high enough levels could prevent P. parvum from forming blooms and/or terminate existing blooms. This technique could work using deeper waters within a lake to flush the surface waters of limited areas of the same lakes, such as in coves and should be explored as a management option. In this way, water releases from upstream reservoirs would not be necessary and there would be no addition of nutrients in the lake.

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4.03 MB; 52 figures; 122 pages; Appendix A-G 60 MB

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  • Report No.: DOE/08ER64604-1
  • Grant Number: FG02-08ER64604
  • DOI: 10.2172/990216 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 990216
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1013282

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  • October 11, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 2, 2017, 3:07 p.m.

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Harris, B.L.; Roelke, Daniel; Brooks, Bryan & Grover, James. Lake Granbury and Lake Whitney Assessment Initiative Final Scientific/Technical Report Summary, report, October 11, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1013282/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.