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Monday, June 1, 2009

Enfield 5th Grade Trip Report

Date: May 29, 2009
We sailed from: Taughannock Park, at 9:30 and 11:30am
Sampling Site: Half way between Taughannock and Myers Point, in 280 feet of water!
Field Conditions:
Air temperature: 58-60 degrees F
Weather: Clearing, but cloudy after morning rain.

Lake Conditions: Calm, light waves with a south breeze building
Secchi Disk Measurement(s): 3.5-5.5 (meters)

Plankton Observations: Asterionella, a photosynthetic diatom, were the most numerous plankton on the water. However, some green- round volvox and long filaments were also present. We learned that, as the water warms, these types of algae will grow faster. We also saw lots of very small animals called rotifers, which eat the diatoms and green algae, and a few copepods.

Water Observations: We tested the temperature of the water a many depths and found that it gets colder as you go deeper. The surface temperature was 52 degrees F. but is quickly went down to about 47 degrees at 5 meters. Below that, it got even colder from 15 to 20 meters deep. This is probably because this is the lowest point where sun light can get to warm the water. While our Secchi disk readings were only about 5 meters on average, classes earlier in the week had readings as deep as 8 meters, which indicated that light could penetrate to at least 16 meters- twice the Secchi disk reading. Maybe the wind and rain from the day before increased the cloudiness of the water a little bit.

What Was Cool? The water that came our of Taughannock Creek was very cloudy, and we could see it flowing into the lake. The lake water was so clear during our morning cruise that we could actually see a wall of cloudy water from the Creek below the surface. Captain Stephanie positioned our boat right over the line between Creek water and lake water, and we measured the clarity on boat sides of the boat. 8 meters on the starboard and only 1 meter on the port! We talked about which water offered a better habitat for trout or for smaller fish and decided the edge of both habitats might be a great place to go fishing!

We also measured the acidity of the water on the pH Scale, and found that Cayuga Lake had a pH of 7.3 today. It is not acid because the pH is above 7, which is neutral. The limestone that Emily the Park Naturalist showed us protects our lake from acid rain by neutralizing the acid- remember all those bubbled when the acid touched the limestone?

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