waskington state lake images
WATERLINE - December, 2012

2012 scholarship winners announced

Each year at its annual conference, WALPA awards two student scholarships: the Nancy Weller Memorial Scholarship and the WALPA Student Scholarship. Candidates for these competitive scholarships must be students currently enrolled at a college or university proposing to do research on the biology, hydrology, ecology and management or restoration of lakes and watersheds in Washington or Idaho. As in past years, competition for these scholarships was stiff; applicants spanned the range from undergraduates to PhD students and demonstrated diverse interests. The scholarship committee had a difficult time choosing among the candidates. We thank all the students who applied and invite them to present their research at an upcoming WALPA conference. This year’s student session at the WALPA conference was well-attended, attesting to the excellent work done by our students. Please join the scholarship committee and the WALPA Board in congratulating this year’s winners. Below is a short background statement provided by each of the winners.

Nancy Weller Memorial Scholarship – KathiJo Jankowski (University of Washington)

Nancy Weller Memorial Scholarship winner, KathiJo Jankowski (University of Washington)

Lake eutrophication remains a significant threat to lakes throughout the United States including Washington. It often results from phosphorus-rich inputs to lakes from urban development that increase phytoplankton productivity. Scientists have long recognized that this increased productivity alters lake nitrogen (N) cycles and promotes the dominance of bloom-forming and sometimes toxic N-fixing bacteria. However, despite the important role of N-fixing bacteria in lake eutrophication, there is increasing evidence that a diverse community of bacteria is involved in mediating N-fixation and that our traditional net surveys miss potentially important non-cyanobacterial N fixers. Therefore, tools that allow us to probe the functional capacity of more diverse lake N-fixing bacterial communities could be useful as early indicators of shifts in lake nutrient status.

My research focuses on using a combination of stable isotope and genetics tools to link changes in nutrient sources and cycling in with changes in associated bacterial communities in more than 20 Washington lakes. Specifically, my research will 1) evaluate how the abundance, richness, and diversity of bacterial communities respond to lake eutrophication and 2) use genetics tools (e.g., bacterial DNA and RNA) to probe how N-fixing bacteria respond to increasing nutrient inputs from human sources. I hypothesize that these types of tools will be useful as leading indicators of eutrophication and other shifts in lake conditions.

WALPA Student Scholarship – Adam Gebauer (Eastern Washington University)

WALPA Student Scholarship winner, Adam Gebauer (Eastern Washington University)

Reed canary grass has historically been planted as a forage crop and a bank stabilizer. However, its ability to create monotypic stands that can withstand high nutrient loads has allowed it to be an aggressive invader of many streams and wetlands in northern North America. Some observers speculate that the presence of reed canary grass in semi-arid eastern Washington results in below historic low stream flows and degraded water quality. The goal of my research is to determine the effects of reed canary grass on the hydrologic regime of low order streams in Washington by comparing systems dominated by reed canary grass and those with other riparian plants. I am using an integrated approach that measures plant water use, plant water source, and plant abundance.

IN THIS ISSUE

December 2012 HOME

Turning Back the Clock - A Plan to Restore Lake Ketchum

Notes from the 2012 WALPA Conference (or how to have a fun time and call it work)

Help us welcome the new WALPA Board members!

2012 Scholarship winners announced

Bylaw changes approved at Wenatchee conference in October

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