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Investigation of Neidium in the northern lower and Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Project Abstract: 
For this study we will use the diatom genus Neidium Pfitzer as a proxy for the freshwater diatoms of the region. Past surveys suggest that there are nearly 20 different species of Neidium in the freshwater diatom flora of northern lower peninsula and U.P. of Michigan. Algae and water samples from 10-15 habitats around northern lower Michigan, and an additional 10-15 habitats from the Upper Peninsula will be collected. The algae samples will be surveyed for Neidium species, and the water samples will be evaluated for a wide range of physical and chemical parameters. Presence and relative abundances (range, greatest abundance) of Neidium species will be correlated with environmental variables. Statistical analyses of the relationships between Neidium species and location will be compared with their position in a forthcoming phylogeny of Neidium, to assess the relationship between ecological preferences and phylogenetic position. This work will yield a Masters’ thesis at the University of Colorado Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as well as publishable results on the Neidium species of Michigan, diatom biogeography and the relationship between ecology and phylogeny.
This work will require preliminary visits to possible research sites to assess the presence of Neidium in certain habitats. This reconnaissance phase will be important because even though we are using over 30 years of samples taken from environments near UMBS, the particularly warm Spring may have produced patterns not seen in previous years. Neidum species are notoriously sensitive to ecological change (Reimer 1959). They are usually found in acid to cirucm-neutral waters. For this work we anticipate a 4-week program of sampling, sample processing and preliminary analysis Week 1: Survey habitats from approximately 10-15 previously sampled sites each in the upper and northern lower peninsula. Sites from northern lower Michigan for possible study include Mud Lake Bog, Smith’s Fen, Bryant’s Bog. Osmun Lake, “Mattress” Lake, Maloney Lake, and several unnamed swamps in the region. In the Upper peninsula, a E-W transect to the Porcupine Mountains, and a S-N transect from the Mackinac Bridge to Sugar Island will be developed. Habitats for preliminary investigation include Engemann Lake, Rexton Bog, Garlinghouse Lake, Shingle Bay Bog among others will be collected. Preliminary samples will be taken from these sites to find out whether species of the target genus of the project, Neidium, are present and abundant at these sites. Week 2-3: Following our preliminary observations we will return to the sites where Neidium species have been determined to be present. At each site, water chemistry data, presence/absence of Sphagnum will be noted, and physical conditions of the sample site and surface will be noted. We will make collections for algae and for physical and chemical analyses. Two trips will be made to the Upper Peninsula during this period. The first trip will last approximately 2-3 days and will explore the eastern quarter of the region. The second trip will explore a transect running to the western reaches of the U.P and will last about 3-4 days. Shorter trips to areas in the northern lower peninsula will be used to sample from sites in Emmet County, Cheboygan Co, and Presque Isle County. These will be day trips to collect samples and water chemistry data from the sites. Week 4: Samples for physical and chemical analysis will be process with the auto-analyzer. We will “clean” samples and make diatom slides. Preliminary diatom counts and identification of Neidium species from sample sites will be conducted at this time.
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