Changes in lake levels, salinity and the biological community of Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA), 1847–1987
- 272 Downloads
Great Salt Lake is the fourth largest terminal lake in the world, with an area of about 6000 square kilometers at its historic high elevation. Since its historic low elevation of 1277.52 meters in 1963, the lake has risen to a new historic high elevation of 1283.77 meters in 1986–1987, a net increase of about 6.25 meters. About 60 percent of this increase, 3.72 meters, has occurred since 1982 in response to greater than average precipitation and less than average evaporation.
Variations in salinity have resulted in changes in the composition of the aquatic biological community which consists of bacteria, protozoa, brine shrimp and brine flies. These changes were particularly evident following the completion of a causeway in 1959 which divided the lake. Subsequent salinities in the north part of the lake have ranged from 16 to 29 percent and in the south part from 6 to 28 percent.
Accompanying the rise in lake elevation from 1982 to 1987 have been large decreases in salinity of both parts of the lake. This has resulted in changes in the biota from obligate halophiles, such as Dunaliella salina and D. viridis, to opportunistic forms such as a blue-green alga (Nodularia spumigena). The distribution and abundance of brine shrimp (Artemia salina) in the lake also have followed closely the salinity. In 1986, when the salinity of the south part of the lake was about 6 percent, a population of brackish-water killifish (Lucania parva) was observed along the shore near inflow from a spring.
Key wordsbrine salinity brine shrimp brine algae halophiles
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Arnow, T., 1984. Water-elevation and water-quality changes in Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1847#x2013;1983. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 913, 22 p.Google Scholar
- Arnow, T. & J. C. Mundorff, 1972. The Great Salt Lake and Utah's water resources. Proceed. First Ann. Conf. Utah Sect. Am. Wat. Resources Ass., Salt Lake City, Utah, p. 29–40.Google Scholar
- Currey, D. R., 1980. Coastal geomorphology of Great Salt Lake and vicinity. In J. W. Gwynn, (ed.), Great Salt Lake, a scientific, historical and economic overview. Utah Geological and Mineral Survey Bull. 116: 69–82.Google Scholar
- Daines, L. L., 1917. On the flora of Great Salt Lake. Am. Nat. 51: 499–506.Google Scholar
- Felix, E. A. & S. R. Rushforth,1980. Biology of the south arm of the Great Salt Lake, Utah. In J. W. Gwynn, (ed.), Great Salt Lake, a scientific, historical and economic overview. Utah Geological Mineral Survey Bull. 116: 305–313.Google Scholar
- Flowers, S., 1934. Vegetation of the Great Salt Lake Region. Bot. Gaz. 95: 353–418.Google Scholar
- Flowers, Seville & F. R. Evans, 1966. The flora and fauna of the Great Salt Lake region, Utah. In H. Boyko, (ed.), Salinity and Aridity. W. Junk, the Hague. P. 367–393.Google Scholar
- Hahl, D. C. & A. H. Handy, 1969. Great Salt Lake, Utah: Chemical and physical variations of the brine, 1963–1966. Utah Geological and Mineral Surv. Bull. 12, 33 p.Google Scholar
- Jorgensen, E. C., 1956. The Ephydridae of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah, Univ. Utah, unpublished Master's thesis, 62 p.Google Scholar
- Kirkpatrick, R., 1934. The life of Great Salt Lake, with special reference to the algae. Salt Lake City, Utah, Univer. Utah, unpublished Master's thesis, 30 p.Google Scholar
- Packard, A. S., Jr., 1871. On insects inhabiting salt water. Amer. Journ. Sci. 1: 100–110.Google Scholar
- Post, F. J., 1977. The microbial ecology of the Great Salt Lake. Microb. Ecol. 3: 143–165.Google Scholar
- Post, F. J., 1980. Biology of the north arm. In J. W. Gwynn, (ed.), Great Salt Lake, a scientific, historical and economic overview. Utah Geological and Mineral Survey Bull. 116: 311#x2013;321.Google Scholar
- Rushforth, S. R. & E. A. Felix, 1982. Biotic adjustments to changing salinities in the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Microb. Ecol. 8: 157–161.Google Scholar
- Stephens, D. W., 1974. A summary of biological investigations concerning the Great Salt Lake, Utah (1861–1973). Great Basin Natural. 34: 221–229.Google Scholar
- Sturm, P. A., 1980. The Great Salt Lake brine system. Utah Geological and Mineral Survey Bull. 116: 147–162.Google Scholar
- Verrill, A. E., 1869. Genus Artemia. In Twelfth Annual Report of the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories of Wyoming and Idaho for the year 1878, Part I: 330–334, 1883, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 809 p.Google Scholar
- Waddell, K. M. & J. D. Barton, 1980. Estimated inflow and evaporation for Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1931–1976, with revised model for evaluating the effects of dikes on the water and salt balance of the lake. Utah Div. of Water Resources Cooperative Invest. Rep. No. 20, 57 p.Google Scholar