Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Johansen


Lake George is a highly monitored, oligotrophic lake that experiences widespread tourism in the summer months. The southern basin is more developed than the northern basin, suggesting a north-south gradient of anthropogenic impairment. This study aimed to assess differences in nearshore diatom communities regarding gradients of water chemistry and watershed development throughout the lake. Using Redundancy analyses, water chemistry was found to explain more variation within diatom assemblages than watershed variables. Weighted averaging optima and tolerances specified taxa of concern, F. gracilis and A. formosa, that indicate increased phosphorus (μg/L) and conductivity (μS/cm), respectively. Two hypotheses related to the effect of climate change on phytoplankton communities are potentially affirmed with comparison to past diatom studies in the lake. Increased development and warming temperatures are predicted to cause an increase in abundance of smaller centric diatoms and benthic diatoms. Our results verify that the effects of human development and concomitant effluents can be observed in diatom communities that may be used as biological indicators or sentinels of environmental change.

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