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A plague of “aquatic osteoporosis” is spreading throughout many North American soft-water lakes due to declining calcium levels in the water and hindering the survival of some organisms, says new research from Queen’s University.
Researchers from Queen’s, working with colleagues from York University and the University of Cambridge, as well as other collaborators, have identified a biological shift in many temperate, soft-water lakes in response to declining calcium levels after prolonged periods of acid rain and timber harvesting. The reduced calcium availability is hindering the survival of aquatic organisms with high calcium requirements and promoting the growth of nutrient-poor, jelly-clad animals.
In the study, researchers looked at the microscopic organisms (~1 mm) Daphnia and Holopedium — the latter whose size is greatly increased by its jelly capsule.