Research Webinar: Seasonal Dynamics of Lake Champlain Microbial Ecology: Exploring Seasonal Variation and Linkages to Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms

Cyanobacteria play critically important roles on Earth but under certain conditions lead to cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs). Like all other cells cyanobacteria can be infected with viruses, but relatively little is known about the roles viruses play in CHAB dynamics. We are working to characterize these relationships, and how they may influence nutrient cycling and CHAB formation, maintenance, and collapse. Additionally, Lake Champlain experiences increasingly warm and ice-free winter conditions. Initial evidence from temperate lakes suggests that under-ice microbial dynamics play larger roles than initially anticipated in nutrient cycling. This work investigated the microbial ecology of CHAB communities across seasons to observe these dynamics. Preliminary data show interesting microbial and viral populations trends by season, as well as functional influence of viruses on carbon metabolism in summer CHABs.

Dr. Erin Eggleston is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Middlebury College. She is a molecular microbial ecologist with diverse interests in cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms, extreme archaea, coral reef symbionts and stress resilience, and the relationships between environmental microbes and environmental justice. In addition to her passion for science, Dr. Eggleston is an avid rock climber, gardener, and reader of speculative fiction.