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K-State Today

March 4, 2021

Eric Strauss to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Eric Strauss, professor at the River Studies Center and Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, will present "Nutrient availability and cycling in Driftless Area streams: Assessments at multiple spatial scales" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 8, via Zoom.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus often limit production in aquatic ecosystems, but high levels of these nutrients lead to system degradation. Stream ecosystems in the Driftless Area of the Upper Midwest are especially vulnerable to nutrient pollution because of the high nutrient inputs to the region and because many of the streams have very high connectivity to the landscape through karst topography. Once in a stream ecosystem, downstream transport of nutrients is primarily a function of hydrology and biotic processes. This seminar will highlight research approaches at various levels of organization and spatial scales to explore nutrient concentrations and the mechanisms of nutrient cycling in Driftless Area streams. Watershed land use patterns on nutrient concentrations and studies targeting drivers of nutrient limitation, consumer-level nutrient recycling and nutrient spiraling will be covered. Regional water quality surveys indicate that many streams in the Driftless Area have saturating levels of nitrogen and patterns of concentrations linked to watershed land use. When nutrients are limiting, phosphorus is often the driving nutrient and some organisms appear to have adapted unique behaviors to acquire necessary quantities of this limiting nutrient. The experimental results also highlight difficulties in interpreting consistent results from experiments conducted at variable temporal scales.

Strauss received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. If you would like to visit with Strauss, please contact Walter Dodds at wkdodds@k-state.edu