Limnological Research on Lake Superior

Duluth harbor lift bridge in January

During 1996 and 1997, I collaborated with Professor Sterner at the University of Minnesota on a limnological study of Lake Superior.  Despite the fact that Lake Superior is the largest lake by surface area in the world, it is amazingly understudied.  We investigated factors limiting bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton production, and quantified both energy and material flow through the lower food web.  We found that light and temperature are major determinants of the chemical fluxes and biological production in this lake.  We will utilize the information from this study to construct an ecosystem model of carbon and phosphorus flow through the Lake Superior pelagic, from dissolved pools through zooplankton.  Our estimates of secondary production should be useful as inputs of available energy into fish production and stocking models.

Sampling Lake Superior in JanuaryPhotograph of a CTD (Conductivity/Temperature/Depth) meter being pulled back onto an icebreaker in Lake Superior in January 1998.  This instrument continuously records information about the lake as it is lowered into the water column.

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