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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Limnology Lab

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Lab biologist preparing nitrate solution.
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Lab biologist collecting zooplankton from Karluk Lake.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in Kodiak operates a limnology laboratory for the collection, processing and analysis of water chemistry and zooplankton samples. Limnology data collection from Kodiak Lakes began in the early 1980’s. In a cooperative agreement with the ADF&G, the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association (KRAA) has provided the funding for the majority of limnology data collection and processing since 1991. Over 30 lakes in the Kodiak Archipelago have been sampled, and some multiyear data series are archived at the Kodiak Fish and Game office. In addition to Kodiak lake samples, the laboratory also processes samples from ADF&G projects in other regions, and cooperative agreements with Aquaculture and Tribal associations in the State of Alaska.

Most lakes in the Kodiak area are accessible only by floatplane. Samples collected while working off the floats include zooplankton net hauls, water samples, temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles, and light incidence measurements. In the laboratory, zooplankton is measured and enumerated under the microscope, and water samples can be analyzed for pH, alkalinity, Chlorophyll a, and nutrient content. The ADF&G uses limnology data to assess lake productivity and changes in the freshwater rearing environment of sockeye salmon. Zooplankton data are also used in stocking recommendations for salmon stock enhancement projects.

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Close-up photo of Bosmina
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Close-up photo of Dophnia
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Lab biologist taking a zooplankton sample to read
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Lab biologist analyzing zooplankton data