Big Data Arrives on a Small Lake in Vermont

Photo: Blue-green algae bloom on Shelburne Pond. Credit: Lisa Borre.
A blue-green algae bloom on Shelburne Pond in late July. (Photo by Lisa Borre.)

While visiting Vermont in late July, I took a day to catch up with colleagues who are studying lakes. University of Vermont (UVM) Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory director Jason Stockwell arranged for me to go out on a sampling run with two interns. Our destination was Shelburne Pond, a shallow lake located about ten miles south of Burlington. The hyper-eutrophic lake was the subject of my undergraduate thesis research, “Internal Sources of Phosphorus in Shelburne Pond, Vermont.” I was interested to learn about the latest round of research there and invited college friends Jennifer Curtin and Sara Thompson to join me for the outing.

A large frontal system had moved through the day before, leaving behind a quintessential Vermont summer day: clear skies with air temperatures in the 70s. Puffy white clouds floated by. It was not unlike the day I arrived in 1985 as a geology student to collect samples and discovered that a massive fish kill had occurred the night before.

A Tipping Point: Massive Fish Kill in the mid-1980s

On that day over a quarter century ago, thousands of fish were floating belly-up, perch, —> Read More Here

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