David Richardson’s website

Welcome to my website.  Below find posts with interesting links or explore the rest of my website to see my teaching and research interest.  I am interested in the following topics aquatic ecosystem ecology; invasive species; technology and aquatic ecosystems; biogeochemistry; lake metabolism; human impacts on streams, rivers, and lakes.

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Lake metabolism under the ice

Our new peer-reviewed paper is out in the journal Inland Waters, the flagship journal for the International Society of Limnology. Lakes have historically been considered dormant during the winter when the top of many northern hemisphere lakes freeze over. We had a unique full year record of water chemistry and physics from Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. We estimated lake metabolism (respiration and photosynthesis) from throughout the entire year. Despite the lake being close to freezing and darker in the winter, organisms under the ice continued to respire at rates higher than during the summer and photosynthesis continued throughout the winter. We provided evidence that year-round sampling is essential for understanding carbon cycling in lakes in our region.

This paper was a collaborative effort with researchers from Dartmouth College, Virginia Tech, Colby College, and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and was led by Dr. Jennifer Brentrup, currently at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, myself, Dr. Cayelan Carey and Nicole Ward, MS both from Virginia Tech.

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Global trends in lake thermal structure

Our new peer-reviewed paper is out in the journal Scientific Reports published by Nature Research. We collected data from lakes around the world to see how they have changed in their water temperatures over a 40-year period (1970-2009). The surface waters of global lakes is warming quickly. However, deep water in our study lakes were changing much more variably with some lakes having cooling deep water and some lakes having warming deep water.

This was a large co-authored paper with many participants from around the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. The project stemmed from efforts through the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON). The project was led by Rachel Pilla, a graduate student from University of Miami Ohio.

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Lake Sunapee data available

We published Lake Sunapee buoy data used for several of our papers (Bruesewitz et al. 2015; Richardson et al. 2016) in an open online data repository called the Environmental Data Initiative. See here, https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/846a36bf6fd704e508511e5f8a2ab3b5, for meteorological and water sensor data from 2007-2013 on the Lake Sunapee Protective Association‘s water quality buoy. This was one of the earlier Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network‘s buoys (GLEON) and one of the best places to visit!

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Nutrient limitation in lakes across northeastern United States

Our new peer-reviewed paper is out in the journal Inland Waters. We studied how nitrogen and phosphorus can limit phytoplankton growth in freshwater lakes. We performed identical experiments in 16 lakes across northeastern United States; we found that phytoplankton communities were limited by nitrogen in some lakes, phosphorus in others, and both in more. The limitation was related to land-use and lake characteristics.

This was a large co-authored paper with many participants including professors and students across 12 institutions. The project stemmed from our annual northeastern Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) meeting where we co-developed the project and experimental design. The study was led by an amazing group of undergraduates, Abby Lewis (Pomona College ’19), Brian Kim (Colby College ’18), Hailee Edwards (SUNY New Paltz ’18), and Heather Wander (SUNY New Paltz ’18) along with Denise Brueswitz (Professor at Colby College) and myself. Our group worked incredibly hard on the data analysis, writing, and coordinating a large collaborative group.

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Serial introductions modify a trophic cascade in Lake Minnewaska – a new paper

Our new peer-reviewed paper is in the September issue of the journal Freshwater Science. We have been studying Lake Minnewaska for many years now and found successive (serial) introductions of two fish species – first a minnow (Golden shiner) followed by Largemouth bass. We discovered that the bass ate all the minnows and following the loss of all minnows from the lake, the lake partially returned to pre-fish conditions including high water clarity.

My co-authors are all undergraduates from SUNY New Paltz from a variety of majors (Biology, Biochemistry, and Environmental Geochemical Sciences) who have gone on different career paths. All co-authors were incredibly involved in the process. We met for 2+ years in multiple research classes working through data collection, data analysis, writing, etc…; most of the students spent summers as paid researchers via various programs and grants. They devoted a ton of time and effort, even post graduation to seeing this paper get published. Hopefully, this process was informative and helped them develop useful skills for their future careers. (Thanks Emma, Hailee, Dejea, Avery, Sawyer, Kayla, and Heather!)

 

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How nutrients and climate change control algal blooms: a short documentary

This past year, Livi Carlen and Luke Barnell (SUNY New Paltz Graphic Design ’19) worked with my lab to create a short documentary titled “Algal Growth in Freshwater Lakes.” We detail how the synergy of climate change and excess nutrients could be increasing algal blooms in our freshwater lakes. Considering the importance of lakes in providing goods and services to humans, this topic is incredibly important to keeping our lakes healthy. See the short above or linked here.

Algal Growth in Freshwater Lakes
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SUNY New Paltz highlights of Heather Wander (undergraduate research student, Biology ’18)

Heather Wander (Biology ’18) just recently graduated after a long and successful time in my lab. Just to highlight some of her accomplishments, Heather presented her research at multiple national meetings including the Ecological Society of America 2017 meeting in Portland, Oregon, the 2017 Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network all-hands meeting at the Mohonk Mountain House and the 2018 Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network all-hands meeting at Rottnest Island just off the coast of Perth, Australia. Heather is also a co-author on three manuscripts stemming from her research (one paper is accepted in the peer-reviewed journal Freshwater Science, one is submitted to the peer-reviewed journal Inland Waters) and the lead author on a manuscript examining the vertical distribution of zooplankton in lakes with differing food webs.

SUNY New Paltz highlighted Heather’s experience with research in my lab and her trip to Australia funded by the Robert Kyncl ’95 and Luz Avila Kyncl ’96 STEM Experiential Learning Fund scholarship.

Heather will be attending Virginia Tech this fall to get her PhD in limnology in Dr. Cayelan Carey’s lab. Congrats Heather!!

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Tropical Cyclone Irene – Data published

In 2011, two large tropical cyclone passed over northeastern North America. We examined the effects of the large storm systems had on lakes along the storm tracks from the Atlantic coast inland through our region. We collected data on the thermal stratification and ecosystem metabolism. We published these results in a 2012 paper in Environmental Science and Technology (Klug et al. 2012). We have now published the data for anyone to explore or further analyze. It is available through the Environmental Data Initiative at the link below.

Klug J. L., D. C. Richardson, H. A. Ewing, B. R. Hargreaves, N. R. Samal, D. Vachon, D. C. Pierson, B. G. Steele, D. M. O’Donnell, S. W. Effler, P. A. del Giorgio, K. C. Weathers. 2019. High-frequency water temperature and dissolved oxygen data and derived stability and metabolism metrics for nine lakes in northeastern North America for months before and after Tropical Cyclone Irene, Fall 2011. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/7684d5140f6ef95b97763c6ba50d208b.

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Research documentary shorts

Two Digital Media and Journalism students, Conor Donachie (DMJ ’18) and Alana Roolaart (DMJ ’18) completed two different documentaries on my lab’s local and regional research. The documentaries are titled ‘Acid Rain and Ecological Change – A Brief History of Lake Minnewaska’ and ‘Northeastern Sentinels Of Climate Change – Mohonk Lake’ and can be seen below.

 

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Environmental Data Initiative Data publications in collaboration with the Mohonk Preserve

Here are two new data publications out of the Mohonk Preserve Daniel Smiley Research Center (DSRC) in collaboration with my lab. The publications came about as a result of the NSF-funded internship I co-hosted along with the DSRC.  This internship is part of the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI), a web-based data portal and data infrastructure program that was designed to help support the information produced through environmental research. Our EDI intern, Vanessa Morgan (SUNY  NP student), received training on-site at EDI in the beginning of the summer before returning to New Paltz to start working with the DSRC data.  Data from the precipitation depths and pH publication are published in Richardson et al. (2018, see Publications). 

Mohonk Preserve, C. Belardo, N. Feldsine, A. Forester, P. Huth, E. Long, V. Morgan, M. Napoli, E. Pierce, D. Richardson, D. Smiley, S. Smiley, J. Thompson. 2018. History of Acid Precipitation on the Shawangunk Ridge: Mohonk Preserve Precipitation Depths and pH, 1976 to Present. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/734ea90749e78613452eacec489f419c
 
Mohonk Preserve, A. Forester, P. Huth, E. Long, V. Morgan, M. Napoli, E. Pierce, D. Smiley, S. Smiley, J. Thompson. 2018.   Mohonk Preserve Ground Water Springs Data, 1991 to Present. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/928feed7ee748509ab065de7e3791966

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