The field season is off to a running start at UW Trout Lake Station! We’ve been maintaining our North Temperate Lakes – Microbial Observatory on a group of bog lakes near Minocqua, WI.
Bog lakes are areas of open water surrounded by mats of sphagnum moss. The bogs we study are called “quaking” bogs, meaning the edge of the mat floats on the water and moves when you walk on it! As the sphagnum dies, it falls to the bottom of the water to form peat, which accumulates over time. One day, these bog lakes will be completely filled with peat.
But in the mean time, the sphagnum shapes the aquatic bacterial community by limiting the nitrogen and phosphorus available, lowering the pH of the water, and releasing complex carbon molecules. Bogs are hugely important for global carbon cycling because of the amount of carbon stored in their peat, and microbes are key players in carbon processing in bogs!
We’ve been observing bacterial communities in these same bogs for over a decade, and are excited to continue sampling this year. So far, we’ve placed our boats out on the bogs, cleaned and calibrated our equipment, and have collected the first samples of the year.
P.S. Check out these other sights from the bog lakes!