David S. White








My interest in benthic ecology began as an undergraduate at DePauw University where I investigated the effects of suspended sediments on stream benthos. Since then my students and I have worked on the near-shore benthic community in Lake Michigan, the benthos of northern Michigan streams, and now the benthic communities of Kentucky Lake. In Kentucky Lake, we presently are investigating competition between Chironomus major (the World's largest midge larva) and the mayfly Hexagenia limbata.

My specialty group is the aquatic Coleoptera, particularly the riffle beetles. I have described several new species and completed a revision of the genus Optioservus. I have been fortunate to have been involved in authoring the aquatic Coleoptera chapters in several texts.



Because reservoirs are human-created ecosystems, every organism now present could be considered an invader. However, most of the species of plants and animals are native to their regions. Noteworthy foreign invaders in Kentucky Lake now include the Asiatic clam, the cladoceran Daphnia lumholtzi, and the silver carp. While in the nearby Ohio River, the zebra mussel has been unsucessful here. My interest is in how these and other invaders alter community structures and thus ecosystem functions.

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In 1988, the Center for Reservoir Research (CRR - now the Watershed Studies Institute, WSI) began a long-term monitoring program on Kentucky Lake. As of the end of 2013, we will have completed more than 500 cruises at 14+ sites. The cruises collect a variety of water chemistry measurements including profiles of oxygen, temperature, turbidity, pH, etc. Also measured at each site are 14C primary production, chlorophyll a, phytoplankton, and zooplankton. The monitoring program was designed to understand patterns in both the main lake and the contributions of various sizes of tributaries in both pristine and human dominated landscapes. All of the data are available for research (data are listed on the HBS and WSI websites).


Established in 2005, a real-time monitoring site was installed in Kentucky Lake on the Highland naviagation light. Data are returned every 15 minutes and are being used to compare Kentucky Lake processes, such as respiration, with lakes and reservoirs around the world. Several of these efforts are being carried out through the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON). The data also are helping us to understand how invasive species such as Daphnia lumholtzi or Asian carp, enter into and compete with natural communities. Present efforts are focusing on zooplankton patterns over the first 20 years of monitoring and how lanscoape and climate change may be affecting community structure. Data also are being used by local marinas and sportsmen.



In 2009, HBS was awarded an NSF Cyberinfrastructure grant in conjunction with the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station. The goals of the grant are to instrument both lakes with real-time sensors, to compare real-time with long-term data, to create a data hub, and to determine novel ways of visualizing the results. The data from the sensors are available for collaborative research.