All areas of research and education related to reservoirs and their watersheds are
supported by the
Center. At present, multi-disciplinary activities are organized around five
interrelated areas. The
unifying theme is processes which regulate and sustain biological productivity in
environments. Brief synopses of the areas are provided below followed by active
grants. The WSI Long-term Monitoring Program provides database support.
Area 1 addresses chemical and biological processes of catchment basins: assessment
quantity and quality of the chemical composition of groundwater, hyporheic water,
wetlands as they influence surface water chemistry and biota. Special attention
focuses on the
documentation of hydrologic events. Several layers of information (land use and
potential, etc.) on Kentucky Lake catchment basins have been compiled in WSI's Kentucky
Geographic Information System. Layers are used to further understand basin composition
relates to processes.
Area 2 addresses embayment and reservoir productivity in relation to tributary and
influences based on analyses of data in the WSI Long-Term Monitoring Program. Understanding
nutrient, carbon, and physical factors which regulate phytoplankton and zooplankton
and species composition is of special importance. Documentation of long-term water
nutrient patterns in relation to changes in the planktonic communities is essential
reservoir response to long-term environmental changes. Samples for enumeration
identification of planktonic organisms have been collected routinely as part of
the WSI Long-Term Monitoring Program since its inception in 1988. Special attention
focuses on documenting
the effects of the invasion of exotic plankton into Kentucky Lake, i.e., the exotic
Daphnia lumholtzi, and planktonic larval exotic mollusks.
Area 3 focuses on quantitative characterization of the chemical environment within
sediments of Kentucky Lake. Sediments are important sinks and sources of nutrients
chemical species to the overlying water column. Thin layers of sediments in contact
overlying reservoir waters have been identified as the most active sites of important
processes such as nitrification, denitrification, and oxygen consumption. This
area seeks to
quantify fluxes of a number of chemical species between the sediments and embayment
Chemical conditions within the sediments are closely linked to the activities of
both micro- and
macro-organisms inhabiting the sediments.
Area 4 seeks to examine some of the more important biota of embayment environments.
is on the complex diversity of habitats and food resources which sustain the productivity.
Fisheries studies address embayments as important in providing food, shelter, and
nursery areas. Invertebrate studies focus on unionid clams and the parasites which
Unionid clams are a commercially important component of the natural fauna of Kentucky
and relationships between clam abundance and such environmental factors such as
abundance and water chemistry are being assessed. Likewise, links between environmental
factors and parasite species composition and abundance are sought. Assessment of
effects on the life cycles of aquatic insects also are addressed.
Area 5 focuses on improved water quality mapping and modeling for Kentucky Lake
particular emphasis on incorporation of Landsat TM satellite data. Ongoing are
efforts to map
chlorophyll, temperature, and turbidity distributions from TM data (calibrated by
measurements). A related component of this area is investigation/modification of
hydrologic, thermal, biologic, and sedimentologic models for use in Kentucky Lake.
addresses the theme of biological productivity on a broad scale. Models of chlorophyll
concentrations and light attenuation are validated by comparison with field measurements
primary production and algal composition. Conceptual and numerical models of reservoir
processes provide a mechanism for both incorporating results from other reservoirs
extension of project results to other environments.