In the Komag River, COAT have conducted an experiment which currently tests whether the crowberry plant affects algal growth in rivers.
Setting up the experiment in the Komag River this summer. Foto: Jarad P. Mellard
Crowberry is a plants known for its high content of a toxic compound which hinders the growth of other plants, zooplankton and the development of salmonid fish. What we do not know is whether this compound also affects the growth of algae. Therefore, we put tiles in the river, half of which had crowberry branches fastened immediately upstream. We so far collected the algae from the tiles and will now start investigating if the algal communities were affected by crowberry presence.
The experiment in the Komag River this summer. Foto: Karoline H. Aares
Next year we will likely conduct a similar experiment, but also including carcasses from pink salmon, to find out if algal growth is affected by the dying pink salmon associated with spawning.
Algae might sound boring, but they are crucial for the riverine ecosystems, especially to our beloved salmonids.