Lake Monitoring Benefits Iowans

Iowa State University has partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to monitor and take samples from Iowa’s lakes for 12 years.

This summer four undergraduate students collected samples from May to September at each of Iowa’s 137 lakes three times for the Iowa State University Limnology Laboratory. The students traveled the entire state and normally had their 40-hour work limit by Wednesday.

Another six students worked in the laboratory to quickly analyze the chemical and biological properties of the samples.

Chris Filstrup, a research associate in ecology, evolution, and organismal biology department, said more than 5,700 samples  were analyzed by biologists and chemists in the laboratory as part of the Ambient Lake Water Quality Monitoring Project sponsored by the Iowa DNR.

Filstrup said the data helps the Iowa DNR monitor and improve the quality of Iowa’s lakes.

The lab also works with labs around the country to monitor Cyanobacteria algal blooms. Some species of Cyanobacteria can produce toxins that can be harmful to wildlife, pets, livestock and humans.

Pictured above: Emily Ludwig and Justin D’Souza, both seniors in biology, are taking samples from Lake LaVerne for the Iowa State University Facilities Planning and Management Department, which isn’t included in the Iowa DNR project.