RUI: Acquisition of Tools for Top-Down Management of Aquatic Systems: Evaluating Success at the Bottom of the Food Chain
The State University of New York College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta) has been awarded a grant for its Biological Field Station (BFS) to acquire an maging flow cytometer for coordinated long-term limnological (fisheries, zooplankton and phytoplankton) monitoring and research, and research training/education conducted by faculty and staff of SUNY Oneonta and the SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, and including continued collaboration with Cornell University?s acoustic-based fisheries research program. The instrumentation will provide for rapid zooplankton and phytoplankton detection and image capture for their enumeration and identification in Otsego Lake and nearby lentic water bodies, greatly increasing the numbers of collections of zooplankton and phytoplankton (including cyanobacteria) that can be analyzed in the laboratory. This will enhance the capability to better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of primary consumers and producers in inland waters. The instrumentation will be used to (1) describe planktonic communities influenced by trophic cascades stimulated by introduced exotics and their management; and (2) enhance plankton analysis, contributing to a number of long-term monitoring and research projects conducted by the BFS and collaborating institutions. Results of work contributing to the restoration and sustainability of Otsego Lake can be compared and articulated with data from other inland and Great lakes, and applied to lakes with similar problems nationwide. Characterizing lakes where there is a reasonable chance of success for top-down management strategies to positively impact symptoms associated with increased primary productivity (eutrophication), or at least increase the filtering efficiencies of large-bodied zooplankton where introduced forage fish have reduced those zooplankton populations, is of great benefit to the lake management community nationwide. These studies have direct application to the local restoration and sustainability of lakes and wetlands in our region and broad relevance to applied natural resource management internationally through the application of technologies and the training of professional managers. The SUNY Oneonta BFS has a strong tradition of training students (college-bound high school, undergraduate, and graduate) in ecological and environmental studies. Access to state-of-the-art instrumentation enhances summer internships and academic-year undergraduate research programs, enabling students to master skills needed to pursue graduate study or professional training, or to obtain related entry-level positions. It also enhances the resources available to a new graduate program, the Master of Science in Lake Management, offered by SUNY Oneonta's Biology Department. For more information about the Biological Field Station please see the website at http://www.oneonta.edu/academics/biofld/.