First Advisor

Yangdong Pan

Date of Publication

Fall 12-17-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science and Management


Environmental Science and Management




Phytoplankton populations – Oregon -- Lake Oswego (Lake), Phytoplankton -- Climatic factors, Phytoplankton -- Seasonal variations, Cyanobacterial blooms, Urban lakes -- Oregon -- Lake Oswego (Lake) -- Management, Water quality



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 102 pages)


Eutrophication is one of the primary factors causing harmful cyanobacteria blooms in freshwater lakes; climate change such as warmer temperature can potentially further increase both frequency and intensity of blooms. This study investigated the long-term changes in water quality and summer phytoplankton assemblages in Oswego Lake, OR, in relation to lake management practices (e.g., hypolimnetic aeration and alum treatments), as well as climatic and regional meteorological conditions. Both water quality and phytoplankton assemblages were sampled biweekly during summer seasons between 2001 and 2013. The concentrations of total phosphorus (TP), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and total nitrogen (TN) decreased 66%, 93% and 31%, respectively, in response to the hypolimnetic aeration and alum treatments since 2005. The results of summer phytoplankton assemblages showed a 62% reduction of cyanobacteria biovolume and a switch from cyanobacteria dominance (2001-2005) to diatom and chlorophyte dominance (2006-2013). Cluster analysis identified four statistically different groups of summer phytoplankton assemblages (denoted Groups 1-4). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis indicated that the four groups were associated with different water quality conditions. Group 1 occurred prior to hypolimnetic aeration and was primarily comprised of cyanobacteria, associated with water conditions of high nutrients and high primary production. Group 2, dominated by cyanobacteria and chlorophytes, occurred between hypolimnetic aeration and alum surface application. Group 2 was associated with turbid water conditions. Group 3 was dominated by diatoms, occurring after alum surface application. Group 4 included R-strategist phytoplankton that quickly respond to environmental changes, occurring in the years following alum injection, drawdown and inflow alum treatment. Both Group 3 and 4 were associated with reduced nutrients in the lake. The results demonstrated a strong temporal relationship between the long-term changes in water quality and summer phytoplankton assemblages and the lake management practices. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index, an El-Niño-like pattern of Pacific climate variability, showed a statistically significant correlation with the summer phytoplankton dynamics, while the multivariate ENSO index (MEI) and regional meteorological variables (air temperature, rainfall, wind speed, wind direction and solar radiation) were not significantly related to the changes of phytoplankton communities during the study period. In conclusion, the study results suggest that the lake management practices had strong effects on both production and community compositions of phytoplankton, and suggest the need for a future study on large-scale climate impacts on lake ecosystems and best management practice.


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