Scientists at the University of Valencia study the microscopic organisms of the lake (06/08/2010)
On August 4 and 5 a team of four researchers at theCavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, took samples from Banyoles lake to analyze the water quality and the state of the microorganism populations living there. The team is led by Professor of Ecology Maria Rosa Miracle, PhD in biology, who in 1975 submitted her doctoral thesis on the plankton of Banyoles lake. This group is dedicated to studying the basic ecology of lakes, ponds and reservoirs through the analysis of the physical and chemical characteristics of the water and aquatic organisms of the plankton (bacteria, algae, invertebrates, fish larvae, ...).
In Banyoles lake they have collected data from up to 12 physical-chemical variables and several water samples with plankton. To do this they have used modern techniques of analyzing water that have allowed them to take data from the water from 0 to 44 metres depth, analyzing the presence of algae, bacteria, the temperature, the amount of oxygen, the salinity of the water, organic matter, etc... With another device they have studied the spectrum of light and how it varies in depth.
A mutual interest in Banyoles lake has made possible a collaboration between the University of Valencia and the Consorci de l'Estany. Currently, the consortium is running LIFE: Projecte Estany, which aims to reduce the population of non-native fish predators in this water mass. It is likely that this reduction produce some changes in the plankton population. Thus, the data collected will be used to assess the effect on the ecosystem of the lake.
Furthermore, it is not in order to highlight any particular discovery, but to collect specific peculiarities of this karstic lake which is unique in the Iberian Peninsula, as is the presence of red sulphur bacteria at a depth of 21 metres in the basin in front of La Draga park, or the maximum presence of phytoplankton (microscopic algae) at around 7.5 metres deep. This study will be repeated occasionally throughout the years until the end of the LIFE project in 2013.