Investigating the Influence of Land Use, Water Chemistry, Invasive Species, and Spatial Patterns on the Production of Algae Along the South-East Shoreline of Lake Huron
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In Lake Huron, oligotrophication of the offshore waters and periodic algal blooms in the nearshore have raised questions as to the relative importance of recent changes in land use and the introduction of invasive species on water quality and algae production. Our project examines the influence of water chemistry, land use, spatial patterns, and invasive species on nearshore algae production in Lake Huron using extensive surveys collected by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. We found that local lake nutrient levels, shoreline development, watershed land use, and invasive dreissenid mussels explain the most variation in algae production. Our results were consistent with the nearshore shunt hypothesis, stressing the role that dreissenid mussels are playing in the growth of benthic algae in Lake Huron. Our findings highlight the need to incorporate spatial patterns and invasive dreissenid mussels in water quality and benthic algae production modelling.