Trip Reports & On-Line Citizen Science

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

5TH Graders from Cayuga Heights Elementary joined us today and did an excellent job of helping us investigate the recent algal bloom on Cayuga Lake. Only a few days ago, the densely-packed algae, Dinobryon, was coloring our water samples a bright green. This is no longer the case, as dinobryon is now almost completely absent! Rotifers have been taking advantage of the abundant food supply and grazing heavily- their population has soared. We got our first look of the year at mature colonies of conochilis, pictured at right.

The 5th grade also starred in a YNN News Feature - excellent work everyone. Check it out by clicking on this image -

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 19 Eco-Cruise with Cornell's AUV!
We had a packed boat for this past Sunday's cruise- thanks to everyone who helped make the first mini-sub luanch of the 2011 season a success! The student-designed Automated Underwater Vehicle, "Drekar", navigated two transects in the lake, generating video plant surveys and basic water quality data. (Video links on the way!) This was the team's first test outside of Teagle Pool at Cornell, and they did great.
In support of the mini-sub based surveys, we also conducted Secchi clarity and plankton tests. After a fairly extreme spring season, we are seeing clarity measurements returning to a "typical" range for the south end of Cayuga Lake, with 2.5 meters of clarity on the east side, near E. Shore marina, and 4 meter clarity along the west shore. This increasing clarity corresponds to a decline in phyto-plankton concentrations that have recently been blooming (see earlier trip reports). Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Dewitt 6th Graders conducted a total of nine hours of sampling on Cayuga between June 13 & 14, and made some important observations. First, we are seeing the end of our first algae bloom on Cayuga- for the last week, water clarity has been reduced by the presence of the yellow-green algae DINOBRYON at incredibly high concentrations (pictured). As this particular species declines, we are seeing increase clarity (now averaging 4 meters) and more bio-diversity in the plankton community. Summer, warm-water species are moving in!Lake water temperatures have also stabilized somewhat, after a very fast warming period. Its early, but our Dewitt teams collected data to suggest that a thermocline is already established in Cayuga between 20 and 25 meters down. At this point, the water rapidly cools from about 62 Deg. F. to 48 F. That's a big change! Nice work, Dewitt! (Full report available under trip reports.)