Scientist to study impact of drawdown on Lake Beseck aquatic plant community
Mark June-Wells, Ph.D. is looking forward to a unique study opportunity involving an anticipated transition in Lake Beseck's aquatic plant community.
As the upcoming Lake Beseck dam repair project approaches, Dr. June-Wells' plan is to study the impact of the lengthy drawdown on our aquatic plant community. He theorizes that perennial species of plants, such as our Eurasian Watermilfoil will disappear and annual species such as the Naiad population will become more dominant. (see his abstract below)
Dr. June-Wells has ten years experience in the field of ecological restoration/management. His areas of expertise include pond/lake management, water-quality analysis, aquatic nuisance species control, sonar mapping, habitat assessment, and anthopogenic-impact identification/resolution. In addition to his applied experiences Dr. June-Wells is an E.S.A. certified ecologist with over a decade of theoretical plant ecology experience. He also brings vast experience in experimental design, statistical analysis, and plant species identification.
April 8, 2013
Beseck Lake Study Abstract
by Mark June-Wells
Aquatic plant community structure and the dynamics of species populations are a result of a variety of factors that control competitive interactions among species. During plant community establishment and development, environmental factors play a key role in determining which species thrive within the water body. Over time, the competitive interactions between plant species further influence variations in plant populations and the overall profile of the plant community. In mature communities, with relatively consistent environmental inputs, these interactions are at equilibrium and the overall plant community is relatively stable. Therefore, a major factor controlling mature, aquatic plant communities are environmental disturbances.
The impact of large-scale disturbances on aquatic plant community structure has, to date, never been fully resolved. Through this study, we intend to evaluate the impact of an 18-month drawdown on the abundance of aquatic plant species and the overall plant community structure in Beseck Lake, Middlefield, CT. Analysis of the plant community will take place over a three year period using 50 georeferenced points and 10 transects. Data collected will include plant species abundance, overall diversity, and a suite of abiotic variables (i.e. soil conductivity, pH, depth, light…etc.). Changes in the plant community and environmental conditions, including species/environmental correlations, will be determined using linear and unimodal regression techniques.
We hypothesize that a significant change in the plant community will occur where perennial species (i.e. Myriophyllum spicatum) will be extirpated by the disturbance resulting in a community assemblage consisting primarily of annual species (i.e. Najas spp.). Furthermore, we hypothesize that the diversity of the plant community will decrease significantly. Data collected during the three-year period following reintroduction of water will be used to evaluate these community structure hypotheses.