Pelagic zonation of water quality and phytoplankton in the Great Lakes

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3 Scopus citations


Analysis of aquatic ecosystem data collected from large water bodies must consider spatial variations. A suite of pelagic survey stations exists for the Laurentian Great Lakes, but little is known about their redundancy. We present a strategy to delineate the lakes into zones based on water quality and phytoplankton biovolume. Water samples were collected from 72 sites in two seasons (spring and summer) from 2007 to 2010 in all five lakes. Integrated samples were analyzed for phytoplankton biovolume and nine water quality parameters. We conducted cluster analysis, principal components analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling methods for water quality and phytoplankton taxon-specific biovolume for the Great Lakes basin and for each lake separately. There were significant lake-to-lake differences, and based on lake-specific analyses, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Erie were each divided into three zones; Lake Huron and Lake Ontario were each grouped into two zones. The zones identified by water quality and phytoplankton provide an understanding of spatial distributions for evaluating monitoring data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Great Lakes
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Pelagic segmentation
  • Phytoplankton
  • Water quality

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