Within the longitudinal chemical-concentration gradient in Coeur d'Alene Lake, generated by inputs from the St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene Rivers, two dominant algal species, Chlorella minutissima and Asterionella formosa, were isolated and cultured in chemically defined media to examine growth response to a range of dissolved orthophosphate concentrations and zinc-ion activities representative of the region within- and up-gradient of the Coeur d'Alene River inlet to the lake. Although zinc is an essential micronutrient, the toxicity of algal species to elevated concentrations of uncomplexed zinc has been demonstrated, and affects the metabolism of phosphorus (Kuwabara, 1985a; Kuwabara and others, 1986), the limiting nutrient in the lake. This interaction between solutes could be of management interest. As an extension of field work conducted in August, 1999 (Kuwabara and others, 2003b), the water column and benthos of Coeur d'Alene Lake were sampled in August 2001, June 2004 and June 2005 (Fig. 1; Table 1) to provide the biological characterization in terms of phytoplankton community composition, benthic macroinvertebrate community composition and benthic chlorophyll concentrations, as well as chemical characterizations at six sites (three depths per site) within the lake. This work, in support of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and regional tribal organizations, provides the first phytoplankton response models in a format that may be incorporated into a process-interdependent water-quality model like CAEDYM (Fig. 2; Brookes and others, 2004; Centre for Water Research, 2006) as a management tool for the lake.
This study provides information in support of developing process-interdependent solute-transport models for the watershed (that is, models integrating physical, geochemical and biological processes), and hence in support of subsequent evaluation of remediation or load-allocation strategies. The following two questions are posed: Are dissolved zinc and orthophosphate concentrations interactively associated with growth parameters of dominant phytoplankton species within the longitudinal concentration gradient of Coeur d'Alene Lake? If so, can these interactions be quantitatively incorporated into a water-quality model for the lake?