Disentangling Effects of Multiple Stressors on Nuisance Benthic Algae (Cladophora) in Nearshore Regions of the Great Lakes
We will analyze long-term monitoring data that were sampled over ten years from nearshore regions of the Great Lakes to find out key factors that cause the proliferation of nuisance benthic algae and fouling of shorelines of Lake Ontario in the Toronto–Durham region and throughout the Great Lakes. Additionally, we will test whether environmental DNA in water and sediment samples can be used to track the dispersal of nuisance benthic algae. Our project will contribute directly to the ongoing monitoring programs in the Great Lakes and will be relevant for management of nuisance benthic algae. We will explore how nuisance benthic algal biomass is influenced by human-factors (wastewater inputs and urban runoff), water quality (e.g., light and nutrients), lake circulation, aquatic invasive species, and climate change. We will also develop models that will inform management strategies to control shoreline fouling by nuisance algae.