2020 Scholarship Announcement (Download PDF)
The Oregon Lakes Association as part of its scholarship and outreach commitment offers an annual $1000 academic scholarship, plus up to $200 travel expenses to OLA's annual conference. Interested applicants should be enrolled (or will be enrolled by the time the award is accepted) in an Oregon college or university graduate program in a field related to the study of Oregon lakes, ponds or reservoirs and their watersheds. An applicant may also be enrolled in a graduate college or university graduate program outside of Oregon if the study project will involve Oregon lakes, ponds or reservoirs.
Oregon Lakes Association 2019 Scholarship Winner(s)
Yes-make that plural! OLA was able to make two awards for 2019 and both applicants are at Portland State University. Both are also currently doing their research projects in the laboratory of Dr. Angela L. Strecker, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Management.
Crysta Gantz is a 4th year PhD Student originally from Renton, Washington. Crysta earned an undergraduate degree in Botany from the University of Washington and after working in a private microscopy lab for a couple of years, moved to Scotland to pursue an MSc at the University of Edinburgh. After finishing the degree, she returned to the US moving to Florida, where she worked as a researcher at the University of Florida. After working on this project for two years, she joined a group that was developing a risk assessment for terrestrial plants. In 2007, she began working on risk assessment for aquatic plants.
In 2011, Crysta was hired to work on a grant-funded project on risk assessment at the University of Notre Dame. This project involved developing risk assessment tools for multiple aquatic organisms in the Great Lakes basin. Following this effort she wanted to pursue a PhD on projects that help preserve and protect lakes. Crysta wanted a PhD program on the West Coast so that she could be closer to family and because she missed the Pacific Northwest. She was accepted to work with Dr. Strecker so that she could learn more about limnology and aquatic ecology.
Her research project is in the Columbia Basin Project in Washington State. The dissertation work combines several aspects of her past research: population genetics, aquatic ecology, landscape ecology, and aquatic invasive species. Crysta plans to use funding from the scholarship to attend the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting in Madison, WI, where she is planning on presenting her research on landscape genetics of a keystone species. These funds will give Crysta a chance to interact with the top researchers in her field, which will be an invaluable opportunity. Crysta is an active student Board member of the Oregon Lakes Association and will present her research at OLA’s 2019 annual meeting in Bend. See: https://www.oregonlakes.org/
Crysta Gantz at Morgan Lake (Washington), July 13, 2017
OLA’s second scholarship recipient for 2019 is Lara Jensen. Lara completed her undergraduate at UC-San Diego (BS Environmental Systems), graduating cum laude. There, she carried out her senior thesis testing for local adaptation in zooplankton to high carbon dioxide levels. She was also a field assistant for a PhD student, sampling lakes in and around Yosemite National Park. It was these experiences studying the ecology of mountain lakes that led her to pursue her doctorate degree at Portland State University, where she plans to examine the factors that influence algal blooms in high elevation lakes.
As a Master’s student at Humboldt State University, Lara carried out a comparative study of benthic community structure in dam-regulated versus unregulated reaches for her thesis. The project was intended to inform the upcoming 50 year FERC relicensing of the Potter Valley Project on the mainstem Eel River in Northern California. Her research examined shifts in algal and invertebrate communities over a summer/fall season and compared this against past studies in the Eel River watershed as well as a comparison with the unimpaired Middle Fork Eel River.
Lara’s PhD thesis is entitled “Do changes in climate, fish & nutrients promote harmful algal blooms in mountain lakes?”
As Lara explains it: Mountain lakes are important freshwater resources due in part to their perceived pristine state, yet their isolation does not preclude them from anthropogenic disturbance. While drivers of certain shifts like species loss are generally known and some can be mitigated, the drivers of other environmental changes, like freshwater harmful algal blooms (FHABs), remain unclear and are of special concern for management. A changing climate, atmospheric nutrient deposition, and the introduction of non-native fish are among the most widespread disturbances to mountain lakes and may create favorable conditions for FHABs. The frequency of FHABs is increasing across lakes in this region, but the key factors causing these blooms are not well known.
Lara will survey 30 lakes in the Oregon Cascades across gradients of temperature, fish stocking and nutrient concentrations. She will characterize the algal and invertebrate communities of the study lakes to examine the prevalence of cyanobacteria and key grazers. Sampling will occur twice in the summer, along with continuous monitoring of temperature using loggers and cyanotoxin levels using Solid Phase Absorption Toxin Tracking (SPATT) passive samplers in order to capture temporal variability. The effects of temperature, nutrients and fish on cyanobacteria dominance will be examined through mixed effect models and calculations of the predicted additive effect. Similar analyses will be conducted to examine the effects of temperature and nutrients on cyanotoxins.
Lara will use her scholarship funds to purchase supplies for deploying SPATT samplers, which allow for a time-integrated sample. Since Lara’s research is just beginning she will not be presenting at OLA’s annual meeting which is in Bend this year. However she will be present, so please join us and meet and greet both our Scholarship applicants for 2019. See: https://www.oregonlakes.org/
Lara Jensen, Yosemite National Park, July 2015
2020 Scholarship Donation Goal
Thus far OLA has provided over $8,000 in scholarships and travel expenses to the recipients. Please consider donating to the Scholarship Fund today, so we can sustain this program well into the future. Please consider donating today!
In recognition of some of our recent donors...Thank You!