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Lake Ecology

The General Introduction from the LMVP Data Report
(a great starting point)

Physical Aspects of Lakes

Lakes vs. Reservoirs

Algae are a diverse group of aquatic organisms that can be microscopic, or in the case of kelp, more than 50 feet long. Some algae are attached to rocks or other submerged structures. This is the slippery green stuff most people call “moss.” Other algae live free-floating in the water, and many species can even “swim.”

Algae, like plants, create their own food through photosynthesis, the process by which the sun’s energy is captured by the pigment chlorophyll and used to combine carbon dioxide and water to form simple sugars. The algae can later break the sugar molecules apart, releasing the stored chemical energy for growth and reproduction. Other organisms are also welcome to those sugars; all they have to do is eat the algae.

Algae Bloom

While algae must photosynthesize to store energy, they also have further requirements for growth and reproduction. For these processes, algae have further requirements of their environment. Chief among these requirements are nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients often responsible for limiting algal growth. If nutrients in the water are insufficient, algal growth will slow or stop entirely until more nutrients become available. An increase in the concentration of nutrients in a lake will typically increase the amount of algae as well.
Internal Phosphorus Loading

  1. Using fish to control algae
  2. Farming for fish
  3. Carp and their effect on water quality



Other Lake Issues

Urban Stormwater

Effects of Introduced Species

Zebra Mussels
Zebra Mussel Effects on Water Quality
©The Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program 2009
The Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program is operated by employees of the University of Missouri