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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. The Benthic Invertebrate Communities of Northern Lake Michigan’s Cladophora “graveyards”

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AUTHORS: Taaja Tucker, CSS-Dynamac / U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center;
Patrick Hudson, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center;
Lisa Pashnik, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center;
Stephen Riley, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center



ABSTRACT: The lake bottom near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SLBE) in northern Lake Michigan is bathymetrically complex, featuring large depressions, shelves, and ridges. Cladophora algae grows on raised shelves and sloughs into nearby depressions due to wave action as the year progresses, creating “graveyards” of rotting Cladophora, diatoms, and other debris. Anoxic conditions generated by this debris may allow the proliferation of Clostridium botulinum type E and associated toxin (BoNTE) production, which causes avian botulism. Benthic invertebrates can harbor quantifiable amounts of BoNTE, which may allow for transfer of the toxin within food webs. To understand benthic community dynamics, invertebrates were collected from a variety of bare, live Cladophora, and dead (“graveyard”) Cladophora sites from May-November 2010-2013 at SLBE and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic resolution. Chironomid larvae, indicators of environmental stress, were identified to genus or species for a subset of samples. A multivariate regression tree was used to determine which habitat and environmental variables were related to benthic community structure, and temporal patterns of abundance throughout sampling seasons were explored. Chironomid taxa and their associated tolerance values were compared among bare, live, and dead Cladophora sites. Implications for exposure routes to avian botulism are discussed.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (1)