A study of nutrient distributions and productivity potential in lake sediments

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this investigation was to study the sediment in the upper reaches of Claytor Lake. The lake is a manmade impoundment on the New River near Radford, Virginia. Eleven core samples, varying in length from 66 cm. to 141 cm, were taken from the lake. The concentration of various water quality parameters were determined for segments of the entire length of each core. An in vitro assay was performed in the laboratory to determine the productivity potential of the nutrients contained in the sediments.

Results of this investigation showed that sufficient nutrients are contained in the sediments to sustain algae growth. These nutrients, when released under controlled conditions, were found to sustain abundant growth of three algal genera: S. capricornutum, A. flosaguae, and M. aeruginosa. Several nutrients were found to exhibit trends with sediment depth and also to correlate with each other. Particle size distributions were also determined on several of the sediment samples. Several nutrients were found to correlate with particle size of the sediment.