Lake destruction

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Storms upend lake ecosystems, causing confusion in their microscopic communities, according to a new study involving NIWA scientists. The study looked at the existing research on phytoplankton, the base of the food web and a determinant of water quality, but found little information on how storms affect it. “If extreme weather events significantly change carbon, nutrient, or energy cycling in lakes, we better figure it out quickly,” says Jason Stockwell, an aquatic ecologist at the University of Vermont who led the new research, “because lakes can flip, like a lightbulb, from one healthy state to an unhealthy one—and it can be hard or impossible to flip them back again.”


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