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Too much phosphorus

April 26, 2010

Jess lowers her experiment into the lake. Each bottle contains lake water and different nutrients; after three days, the bottles will be removed to determine which nutrients stimulated algal growth.

Phosphorus supplies are decreasing. In some places. But what about those places where there is too much phosphorus? For the past two weeks, I have been working in one of those places: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. It is a beautiful lake surrounded by volcanoes in the highlands of Guatemala, but its surface is peppered with trash and its waters are increasing in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations. The later is linked to massive algal blooms, which threaten the drinking water quality, fisheries and tourism industry for the surrounding villages. Clearly, this is a place where less phosphorus is needed! During the expedition, I joined forces with representatives from seven other universities representing Guatemala, the US, and the Czech Republic to begin a scientific monitoring program to study the lake and surrounding watershed.  We also met with numerous representatives from local and federal government and community organizations to discuss the current situation in the lake.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2010 1:04 am

    How was the second lake atitlan expedition, I know the team came back with Dr Margaret, but results from samples have not being published

    • jrcorman permalink
      August 25, 2010 8:27 pm

      Hi Laura! You’re right, the results have not been published, we are all working hard to finish analyzing our samples. Dr. Chandra presented some of the preliminary results at the GLOW conference in August. Keep watching the blog and we’ll post info when we have it ready.

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