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Gloeotrichia Project on Great and Long Ponds

Gloeotrichia bloom

With funding from the Belgrade Lakes Association, Professors Whitney King and David Firmage of Colby College launched a formal study in the summer of 2005 and continued it in 2006. The study went well. The final report was readied for summer 2008 following up on the 2007 release of preliminary findings in the FAQ (frequently asked questions). Also available is the study’s initial compendium of the literature from recent Colby graduate Douglas Laliberte and Dr. King.

The Belgrade Lakes Association provided $12,000 to fund the salaries of two students during the summer of 2005 and paid for equipment and supplies to probe the nature of the Gloeotrichia bloom. Andrew Johnson '06 and Ta-Chung Ong '07 were hired to work on the project. Weather conditions, water temperatures, and nutrient levels in the water and the algae were monitored. The researchers strove to better understand the conditions that promote growth of the cyanobacterium and the relationship of its nutritional needs and byproducts with the chemical counterparts in the water.

Volunteer lake residents were assigned observation posts around the shore and over deeper waters to take periodic readings of gloeotrichia densities, associated weather conditions, and reactions of swimmers. Their observations were submitted to Colby to help fill out the larger picture in which the more focused and precise measurements of the Colby scientists were to be placed. A diagram of the study organization helps one understand all of its components. We are truly fortunate to have such expertise available to study our ponds and to help us understand what is going on in our own back yards. (You may find it interesting to visit the working website at Colby to see what the volunteers had to work with.)

Volunteer monitoring has resumed every summer since with some added measurements to help answer questions posed by the previous study, to keep watch for new or expanding problems, and to document long term trends.

2014 Gloeotrichia Observer's Update:

Belgrade Lakes Association Volunteer Gloeotrichia Observers had their beginning in 2005 as a result of the increased presence of Gloeotrichia in both Great and Long Ponds.  The Belgrade Lakes Association created a program to monitor Gloeotrichia in specific locations on both lakes. The BLA volunteers were trained to identify Gloeotrichia and to determine it's approximate density.  The density was based on a 0-5 scale corresponding to it's abundance in a given area.  Examples of each density were given to the volunteers for reference with each volunteer being assigned an observation site.

The BLA web site has graphs that depict the Gloeotrichia Density at the various sites on Great or Long Pond where they recorded the date and time of the observation with approximate density, wind speed and direction, cloud cover along with the impact of Gloeotrichia on enjoyment. BLA volunteers have recored data Data for the years 2005, 2006 and 2008-2013.  More than 350 observations were recorded for each of these years making the data fairly representative of Gloeotrichia in shallow Habitats with observation sites on Great and Long Ponds from 2005 to 2012.  During the years 2010 to 2012, the mean Gloeotrichia density remained fairly constant although the results have not yet been tabulated for our 2013 reports from the Observers although initial reports do indicate a somewhat decline intensity.  Many thanks to the the BLA volunteer Observers who have devoted their time and efforts over the years to this important program.

Anyone wishing to join the Belgrade Lakes Association's Observation Team, please submit your name through the contact us form on this website or call 495-6039.   We would love to have you join us!


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Belgrade Lakes Association

137 Main Street

PO Box 551

Belgrade Lakes, ME 04918

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