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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Friday, May 7 - 6th Graders from Dewitt Middle School (Ithaca, NY) helped us launch the 2010 season today! In fact, the first class of the day was rewarded with a sunny and mild lake cruise. Later classes experienced spring on Cayuga, as the wind picked up and the sun took the afternoon off. Despite deteriorating conditions, intrepid students successfully constructed a complete mid-lake temperature profile. The water temperature in the first ten meters was measured at 7.8C (about 46F) and dropped to a wintery 6.4C (43.4F) between 17 about 23 meters. This slight surface warming is a sure sign of spring, and our Secchi disk measurements (6 Meters, avg.) confirmed that sunlight is penetrating about 18 meters into the lake.

Plankton samples indicated that, although the water is still cold, spring is progressing, perhaps even ahead of last year. Diatoms such as asterionella are very numerous, and calanoid copepods and several rotifers are feeding on them. Zebra mussel larval stages (called “veligers”) were also observed.
Surprisingly a number of bosmina were recorded by students and verified by instructors. Bosmina are a native zooplankton in Cayuga, but they are showing up early this year!

We’d like to thank the 6th graders from Dewitt who made it onto the lake with us- you did a great job, and remember: you are all part of an ongoing student-science project to determine the nature of our lake! For those who could not attend, we hope we’ll see you and your families on the lake soon for a make-up eco-cruise! We’d love to have pictures, too!
Sampling Location: N42deg, 33.315' W76deg, 35.248'

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