SUNY Fredonia researcher to speak at Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Conference

Roger Coda
Dr. Courtney Wigdahl-Perry

Dr. Courtney Wigdahl-Perry

Dr. Courtney Wigdahl-Perry, a leading scientist who studies harmful algae blooms in Chautauqua Lake and associate professor of Biology at SUNY Fredonia, will be among experts who will address water quality issues at the 2022 Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Conference at the Chautauqua Golf Club on Saturday, June 18.

Nutrient cycling, different types of algae present in the lake as well as harmful algal blooms – the toxins they carry and how their propagation impacts the lake ­ – are among aspects of water quality that Dr. Wigdahl-Perry and other research researchers will discuss.

In her talk, “Temporal Perspectives: Lake Ecology and Algae Communities through Time at Chautauqua Lake,” Wigdahl-Perry will share findings of sediment cores – tubes that are pushed into the muddy lake bottom – that collect microscopic algae fossils that can serve as a record of environmental changes in the lake over potentially long periods of time.

These samples were gathered by Wigdahl-Perry’s students in the fall of 2020 and 2021.

More information about the in-person conference, which is sponsored by Chautauqua Institution and free and open to the public, can be found online at www.chq.org/event/chautauqua-lake-water-quality-conference A question/answer session is included. The conference, held virtually in 2020 and 2021, will be presented from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A frequent speaker on the lake’s algal blooms, Wigdahl-Perry has given multiple community talks for different organizations since joining SUNY Fredonia in 2014. She has made presentations to Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Panels: “Aerial Surveillance of Algae Blooms: Using Hyperspectral Imaging and Drones to Track Bloom Dynamics,” in 2021, and "Thermal Stratification and Implications for Internal Phosphorus Loading; Drone Surveillance of Harmful Algae Blooms,” 2020.

She presented "Algae: Understanding the Base of Chautauqua Lake’s Food Web" at the Chautauqua Lake Conference in 2019.

Wigdahl-Perry also reported on the use of drones and hyperspectral imaging in algae bloom surveillance at Finger Lakes Institute’s Harmful Algal Bloom Conferences in 2021 and 2019.

She has given several talks in the Lake Walk Series, hosted by the Bird, Tree & Garden Club at Chautauqua Institution, that included "Small but Mighty: Algae Communities at Chautauqua Lake," 2019, and "Lakeside Lab – Exploring Chautauqua Lake’s Underwater Life," 2018. "Going Green? Understanding Harmful Algae Blooms at Chautauqua Lake" was the talk she gave to the Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotary Club in 2019.

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