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How do Lake Ecosystems Change with Increases in Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) and Reduced Water Clarity? Long-term investigations in lake ecology

Water quality is a significant issue affecting our lakes. While the effects of nutrients on water quality has received much attention, light availability also has strong effects on water quality in lake ecosystems. Light availability has been changing in many lakes with changes in water clarity. Many lakes are undergoing “browning”, where waters become darker and less transparent due to increases in dissolved organic matter (DOM). In this exercise, users will explore changes in water clarity due to DOM inputs and their effects on the lake ecosystem. A series of questions leads the user to explore 3 lakes in northeastern USA using a web-based app that allows the user to easily visualize trends in the lakes’ long term and high frequency data sets. Through this exercise, students will gain an understanding of the effects of “browning” on lake ecosystems and experience working with a real-world ecological data set.
Associated files
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
General Biology Competencies
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords limnology, water quality, lake productivity, browning, dissolved organic matter, lake ecosystem
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description This resource can be used as a lab or in-class exercise to introduce students to science inquiry using a real-world data set while learning about water quality in lake ecosystems. Included in this resource are background information on the ecological concepts introduced, student exercises, instructor notes, access to the necessary data set and a web-based app to facilitate data exploration, and a hands-on activity to reinforce relevant ecological concepts.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Elizabeth Mette
Primary Author Affiliation Miami University
Department of Biology
Oxford, Ohio, USA
Primary Author email
Secondary Author Name(s) Erin Overholt, Thuc Doan Nguyen, Rachel Pilla, Craig Williamson
Secondary Author Affiliation(s) Miami University
Department of Biology
Oxford, Ohio, USA
Secondary Author Email(s),,,
Added By Id
  • bethmette
Rights This resource is to be published under Creative Commons 4.0
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 0000-00-00
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use Yes
Date Of Record Release 2021-07-28 06:33:57
Last Modified By Id
  • JJohnston
Date Last Modified 2021-07-28 06:33:57
Release Flag Published

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