Digging Deep: Researcher to Discuss Analyzing Sediment to Learn About Lakes

November 20, 2019 | Events, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Bailey Sparks

“Inferring the Past to Create a Better Future Using Paleolimnology” is the topic of a lecture that will take place Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon, Ohio.

Dr. Trisha Spanbauer, UToledo assistant professor of environmental sciences, will talk about how paleolimnologists use sedimentary records from inland waters to understand past environmental changes, some of which are human-induced.


Paleolimnology is the study of the history of lakes and streams. Sediments from the bottom of lakes contain archives of the remains of many types of terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Studying fossils and chemical signatures of these remains allows scientists to reconstruct past environmental change.

Having recently joined The University of Toledo, Spanbauer is excited to use these techniques on the sediments of Lake Erie. Specifically, she is interested in past changes in algal communities and lower food web dynamics in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.

“I would like the audience to leave my lecture with a better understanding of the diversity of questions and research topics that can be addressed with paleolimnology,” Spanbauer said. “In addition, I will be discussing some fascinating microorganisms, so I hope that the audience will gain an appreciation of the unseen world that exists in lakes.”

For more information on the free, public lecture, email the Lake Erie Center at lakeeriecenter@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.8360.

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