Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center at UMass Amherst

Investigating effects of annual winter lake drawdowns on fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages and diet

Grant Award Year: 
2014-2015
Allison Roy
Research Description: 
Annual winter drawdowns threaten to compromise the ecological integrity of lakes and ponds. In Massachusetts, annual winter drawdowns are common and have been conducted for several decades in some cases. This project aims to investigate the effects of winter drawdowns on fish and macroinvertebrates assemblages for multiple lakes in western MA. We will compare two lakes that have undergone annual winter drawdowns with two unmanaged lakes. In each lake, we will quantify sub-daily water level fluctuations using pressure transducers. We will sample fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages in the littoral zone using a variety of techniques, and collect samples for ageing, growth, gut content, and stable isotope analysis. The goal is to identify abiotic and biotic factors that may be sensitive to drawdown for additional investigation in follow-up studies over a larger spatial scale and across a range of lake management. The research is largely being funded by a grant from Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to support a graduate student (part of which is match for this proposal), and this USGS grant would provide necessary funds for field supplies and travel to field sites.