US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

North Temperate Lakes LTER Regional Survey Macrophytes Plant Index 2015 - current

The Northern Highlands Lake District (NHLD) is one of the few regions in the world with periodic comprehensive water chemistry data from hundreds of lakes spanning almost a century. Birge and Juday directed the first comprehensive assessment of water chemistry in the NHLD, sampling more than 600 lakes in the 1920s and 30s. These surveys have been repeated by various agencies and we now have data from the 1920s (UW), 1960s (WDNR), 1970s (EPA), 1980s (EPA), 1990s (EPA), and 2000s (NTL). The 28 lakes sampled as part of the Regional Lake Survey have been sampled by at least four of these regional surveys including the 1920s Birge and Juday sampling efforts. These 28 lakes were selected to represent a gradient of landscape position and shoreline development, both of which are important factors influencing social and ecological dynamics of lakes in the NHLD. This long-term regional dataset will lead to a greater understanding of whether and how large-scale drivers such as climate change and variability, lakeshore residential development, introductions of invasive species, or forest management have altered regional water chemistry. The purpose of the macrophyte survey is to identify, and quantify the types of aquatic plants within the various 28 regional survey lakes. The macrophyte survey consists of sampling macrophyte plants using a metal rake attached to a 15ft pole at approximately 140 spatially resolved points on a lake that are spread out in a grid like fashion, equally spaced from each other. Sampling locations were chosen such that the maximum depth at which macrophytes were surveyed was equal to or less than 15ft of water. Macrophyte sampling occurs in the latter part of the summer (after July 10) to ensure that macrophytes have had adequate time to grow and our sampling efforts capture the typical summer macrophyte community in each lake. Macrophyte sampling in these 28 lakes is ongoing and will be repeated approximately once every six years.
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the protocol employed here is based on:
Hauxwell, J., S. Knight, K. Wagner, A. Mikulyuk, M. Nault, M. Porzky and S. Chase . 2010. Recommended baseline monitoring of aquat ic plants in Wisconsin : sampling design, field and laboratory procedures, data entry and analys is, and applica tions. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Science Services, PUB-SS-1068 2010. Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
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