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Article

Changing Water Levels in Lake Superior, MI (USA) Impact Periphytic Diatom Assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula

1
Department of Biology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401, USA
2
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
3
Department of Biology, Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL 60554, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Manel Leira
Water 2021, 13(3), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030253
Received: 23 November 2020 / Revised: 4 January 2021 / Accepted: 18 January 2021 / Published: 20 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Water Levels in the Great Lakes)
Predicted climate-induced changes in the Great Lakes include increased variability in water levels, which may shift periphyton habitat. Our goal was to determine the impacts of water level changes in Lake Superior on the periphyton community assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula with different surface geology. At three sites, we identified periphyton assemblages as a function of depth, determined surface area of periphyton habitat using high resolution bathymetry, and estimated the impact of water level changes in Lake Superior on periphyton habitat. Our results suggest that substrate geology influences periphyton community assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Using predicted changes in water levels, we found that a decrease in levels of 0.63 m resulted in a loss of available surface area for periphyton habitat by 600 to 3000 m2 per 100 m of shoreline with slopes ranging 2 to 9°. If water levels rise, the surface area of substrate will increase by 150 to 370 m2 per 100 m of shoreline, as the slopes above the lake levels are steeper (8–20°). Since periphyton communities vary per site, changes in the surface area of the substrate will likely result in a shift in species composition, which could alter the structure of aquatic food webs and ecological processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Great Lakes water levels; climate change; periphyton; food webs Great Lakes water levels; climate change; periphyton; food webs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Woller-Skar, M.M.; Locher, A.; Audia, E.; Thomas, E.W. Changing Water Levels in Lake Superior, MI (USA) Impact Periphytic Diatom Assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Water 2021, 13, 253. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030253

AMA Style

Woller-Skar MM, Locher A, Audia E, Thomas EW. Changing Water Levels in Lake Superior, MI (USA) Impact Periphytic Diatom Assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Water. 2021; 13(3):253. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030253

Chicago/Turabian Style

Woller-Skar, M. M., Alexandra Locher, Ellen Audia, and Evan W. Thomas. 2021. "Changing Water Levels in Lake Superior, MI (USA) Impact Periphytic Diatom Assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula" Water 13, no. 3: 253. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030253

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