My research involves defining the sources and timing of nutrient loading to lakes and determining how such loading can be modified by internal lake processes.

    Research Interests: Aquatic biogeochemistry; climate change; eutrophication issues; landscape modification; invasive species; phytoplankton physiology and ecology; winter limnology; Great Lakes of the world

It’s Not Easy Being Green:
Threats to Missouri's Water Bodies

Research Relevance

My research will be used to develop recommendations to mitigate nutrient loading and algal blooms, critical for the protection of Missouri’s water resources.
Water quality is important to health, economics, and prosperity, and defines who we are; so why are our lakes turning green? Worsening water quality and increases in noxious algal blooms are attributed to climate and agriculture-related increases in nutrients from the watershed.
Identification of factors controlling algal blooms will reduce their occurrence. Improved information is needed to avoid the public health catastrophe experienced by Toledo, Ohio residents when harmful algal blooms compromised their water supply. How will we maintain good quality water sources in a future of increased agricultural production, extreme flooding, climate change, and invasive species introductions?
My research defines the sources and timing of nutrient loading to lakes and determines how such loading can be modified by internal lake processes including the presence of zebra mussels.

My research addresses three basic goals:

  1. To demonstrate the interaction between light and nutrients on the year-round algal biomass and primary productivity in lakes.
  2. To examine land use effects on the year-round external sources of nutrients.
  3. To quantify internal sources of nutrients and their transformations.
My research will help us to better prepare for algal blooms in the future through the development of mitigation and management strategies to reduce nutrient loading; critical for the protection of Missouri’s water resources.

Research Gate
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Peer-Reviewed Publications

*Indicates mentored student co-author


J. R. Jones, D. Obrecht & R. L. North (2022): Influence of fisheries and shoreline management on limnological characteristics of three Missouri reservoirs, Inland Waters, DOI: 10.1080/20442041.2022.2037991. PDF

Reinl, K.L., Harris, T.D., Elfferich, I., Coker, A., Zhan, Q., De Senerpont Domis, L.N., Morales-Williams, A.M., Bhattacharya*, R., Grossart, H.P., North, R.L., Sweetman, J.N. 2022. The role of organic nutrients in structuring freshwater phytoplankton communities in a rapidly changing world. Water Research. PDF

Knott, K., Coleman, E., Cianci-Gaskill*, J., O’Hearn, R., Niswonger, D., Brockman, J.D., Argerich, A., North, R.L., Wenzel, J. 2022. Mercury, selenium, and fatty acids in the axial muscle of largemouth bass: evaluating the influence of seasonal and sexual changes in fish condition and reproductive status. Ecotoxicology. PDF

Baron, A.A.P, Dyck, L.T., Amjad, H., Bragg*, J., Kroft, E., Newson*, J., Oleson, K., Casson, N.J., North, R.L., Venkiteswaran, J.J., Whitfield, C.J. 2022. Differences in ebullitive methane release from small, shallow ponds present challenges for scaling. Science of the Total Environment. 802. 149685. PDF


Kinzinger*, E.C. and R.L. North. 2021. LakeLine magazine, a publication of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS). Reservoir Observer Student Scientists: A high school community science program for year-round water quality monitoring. Issue 41-2. PDF

Reinl, K.L., Brookes, J.D., Carey, C.C., Harris, T.D., Ibelings, B.W., Morales-Williams, A.M., De Senerpont Domis, L.N., Atkins, K.S., Isles, P.D.F., Mesman, J.P., North, R.L., Rudstam, L.G., Stelzer, J.A.A., Venkiteswaran, J.J., Yokota, K., Zhan, Q. 2021. Cyanobacterial blooms in oligotrophic lakes: Shifting the high nutrient paradigm. Freshwater Biology. DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13791. PDF

Wollschläger, J., Neale, P.J., North, R.L., Striebel, M., and O. Zielinski. 2021. Editorial: Climate change and light in aquatic ecosystems: Variability & ecological consequences. Frontiers in Marine Science. 8:688712. PDF

Ozersky, T., Bramburger, A., Elgin, A., Vanderploeg, H., Wang, J., Austin, J., Carrick, H., Chavarie, L., Depew, D., Fisk, A., Hampton, S., Hinchey, E., North, R., Wells, M., Xenopoulos, M., Coleman, M., Duhaime, M., Fujisaki-Manome, A., McKay, R., Meadows, G., Rowe, M., Sharma, S., Twiss, M., Zastepa, A. 2021. The changing face of winter: Lessons and questions from the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. PDF

Jane, S.F., Hansen, G.J.A., Kraemer, B.M., Leavitt, P.R., North, R.L., Pilla, R.M., Williamson, C.E., Woolway, R.I., Arvola, L., Chandra, S., DeGasperi, C.L., Diemer, L., Dunalska, J., Erina, O., Flaim, G., Grossart, H.P., Hambright, K.D., Hein, C., Hejzlar, J., Janus, L.L., Jenny, J.P., Jones, J., Knoll, L.B., Leoni, B., MacKay, E., Matsuzaki, S.I., McBride, C., Muller-Navarra, D.C., Paterson, A.M., Pierson, D., Rogora, M., Rusak, J., Sadro, S., Saulnier-Talbot, E., Schmid, M., Sommaruga, R., Thiery, W., Verburg, P., Weyhenmeyer, G., Yokota, K., Rose, K.C. 2021. Widespread deoxygenation of temperate lakes. Nature. PDF


Rushford*, C.A., North, R.L., Miller, G.L. 2020. Detection of cyanotoxins in irrigation water and potential impact on putting green health. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal. 1–3. DOI:10.1002/its2.40. PDF

Gaskill, J.A., Harris, T.D., and R.L. North. 2020. Phytoplankton community response to changes in light: Can glacial rock flour be used to control cyanobacterial blooms? Frontiers in Environmental Science. 8:540607. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.540607

Petty, E.L., Obrecht, D.V., and R.L. North. 2020. Filling in the flyover zone: High phosphorus in Midwestern (USA) reservoirs results in high phytoplankton biomass but not high primary productivity. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 8 (111). DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.00111. PDF

Foulon, E., Rousseau, A.N., Benoy, G., North, R.L. 2020. A global scan of how the issue of nutrient loading and harmful algal blooms is being addressed by governments, non-governmental organizations and volunteers. Water Quality Research Journal. 55: 1–23.PDF


Knott, K.K., O'Hearn, R., Niswonger, D., Lawson, L., North, R.L., Obrecht, D.V., Tracy-Smith, E., Voss, R., Wenzel, J., McKee, M. 2019 Physical, chemical, and biological factors that contribute to the variability of mercury concentrations in largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides from Missouri reservoirs. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. PDF

Rowland, F.E.*, North, R.L., McEachern, P., Obrecht, D.V., Gurung, T.B., Jones, S.B., Jones, J.R. 2019. Nutrient deficiencies vary with season in sub-tropical lakes of Nepal. Hydrobiologia. PDF

Block, B.D., Denfeld, B.A., Stockwell, J.D., Flaim, G., Grossart, H-P. F., Knoll, L.B., Maier, D.B., North, R.L., Rautio, M., Rusak, J.A., Sadro, S., Weyhenmeyer, G.A., Bramburger, A.J., Branstrator, D.K., Salonen, K., Hampton, S.E. 2019. The unique methodological challenges of winter limnology. Limnology and Oceanography Methods. PDF.

Whitfield, C.J., Casson, N.J., Baulch, H.M., North, R.L., Venkiteswaran, J.J., Ahmed, O., Leathers, J., Nugent, K., Prentice, T. 2019. The effect of freeze-thaw cycles on phosphorus release from riparian macrophytes in cold regions. Canadian Journal of Water Resources. DOI: 10.1080/07011784.2018.1558115. PDF


Casson, N.J., Whitfield, C.J., Baulch, H.M., Mills, Sheryl, North, R.L., Venkiteswaran, J.J. 2018. A model for training undergraduate students in collaborative science. FACETS. 3:818-829. DOI: 10.1 139/facets-2017-0112. PDF


Orihel, D.M., Helen M. Baulch, Nora J. Casson, Rebecca L. North, Chris T. Parsons, Dalila C.M. Seckar, Jason J. Venkiteswarane. 2017. Internal phosphorus loading in Canadian fresh waters: a critical review and data analysis.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. PDF

Dompierre, K.A., Barbour, S.L., North, R.L., Carey, S.K., Lindsay, M.B.J. 2017. Chemical mass transport between fluid fine tailings and the overlying water cover of an oil sands end pit lake. Water Resources Research. 53, doi:10.1002/2016WR020112. PDF

Hampton, S.E., Aaron W. E. Galloway, Stephen M. Powers, Ted Ozersky, Kara H. Woo, Ryan D. Batt, Stephanie G. Labou, Catherine M. O’Reilly, Sapna Sharma, Noah R. Lottig, Emily H. Stanley, Rebecca L. North, Jason D. Stockwell, Rita Adrian, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Lauri Arvola, Helen M. Baulch, Isabella Bertani, Larry L. Bowman, Jr., Cayelan C. Carey, Jordi Catalan, William Colom-Montero, Leah M. Domine, Marisol Felip, Ignacio Granados, Corinna Gries, Hans-Peter Grossart, Juta Haberman, Marina Haldna, Brian Hayden, Scott N. Higgins, Jeff C. Jolley, Kimmo K. Kahilainen, Enn Kaup, Michael J. Kehoe, Sally MacIntyre, Anson W. Mackay, Heather L. Mariash, Robert M. McKay, Brigitte Nixdorf, Peeter Noges, Tiina Noges, Michelle Palmer, Don C. Pierson, David M. Post, Matthew J. Pruett, Milla Rautio, Jordan S. Read, Sarah L. Roberts, Jacqueline Rücker, Steven Sadro, Eugene A. Silow, Derek E. Smith,41 Robert W. Sterner, George E. A. Swann, Maxim A. Timofeyev, Manuel Toro, Michael R. Twiss, Richard J. Vogt, Susan B.Watson, Erika J.Whiteford and Marguerite A. Xenopoulos. Ecology under lake ice. Ecology Letters. doi: 10.1111/ele.12699. PDF

Doig, L.E., North, R.L., Hudson, J., Hewlett*, C., Lindenschmidt, K.-E., Liber, K. Phosphorus release from sediments in a river-valley reservoir in the northern Great Plains of North America. Hydrobiologia. doi: 10.1007/s10750-016-2977-2. PDF

Pernica, P., North, R.L., Baulch, H.M. 2017. In the cold light of day: The potential importance of under-ice convective mixed layers to primary producers. Inland Waters. PDF


Abirhire*, O., North, R.L., Hunter*, K., Vandergucht*, D., Hudson, J. 2016. Do human activities affect phytoplankton biomass and composition in embayments on Lake Diefenbaker? Journal of Freshwater Ecology. doi: 10.1080/02705060.2016.1205526. PDF


North, R.L., Davies, J.M., Doig, L., Lindenschmidt, K.-E., Hudson, J. 2015. Lake Diefenbaker: the prairie jewel. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 41 (Suppl. 2): 1–7. PDF

Kim*, T.Y., North, R.L., Guildford, S.J., Dillon, P., Smith, R.E.H. 2015. Phytoplankton productivity and size composition in Lake Simcoe: The nearshore shunt and the importance of autumnal production. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 41: 1075–1086. PDF

Ireson, A., Barr, A., Johnstone, J., Mamet, S., van der Kamp, G., Whitfield, C., Michel, N., North, R.L., Westbrook, C., Debeer, C., Chun, K., Nazemi, A., Sagin, J. 2015. The Changing Water Cycle: the Boreal Plains Ecozone of Western Canada. WIREs Water. PDF

North, R.L., Johansson*, J., Vandergucht*, D., Doig, L., Liber, K., Lindenschmidt, K.-E., Baulch, H., and Hudson, J. 2015. Evidence for internal phosphorus loading in a large prairie reservoir (Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan). Journal of Great Lakes Research.41 (Suppl. 2): 91–99. PDF

Dubourg*, P., North, R.L., Hunter*, K., Vandergucht*, D., Abirhire*, O., Silsbe, G., Guildford, S.J., Hudson, J.J. 2015. Light and nutrient co-limitation of phytoplankton communities in a large reservoir: Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan, Canada. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 41 (Suppl. 2): 129–143. P. Dubourg and R.L. North contributed equally to this paper. PDF

Maavara, T., Hood, J.L.A., North, R.L., Doig, L.E., Parsons, C., Johansson*, J., Hudson, J.J., Lucas, B.T., Liber, K., Vandergucht*, D.M., Van Cappellen, P. 2015. Reactive silica dynamics in a large prairie reservoir: Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan. Journal of Great Lakes Research.41 (Suppl. 2): 100–109. PDF

Abirhire*, O., North, R.L., Hunter*, K., Vandergucht*, D., Sereda, J., Hudson, J. 2015. Environmental factors influencing phytoplankton in Lake Diefenbaker, SK, Canada. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 41 (Suppl. 2): 118–128. PDF

Hewlett*, C., North, R.L., Johansson*, J., Vandergucht*, D., and J. Hudson. 2015. Relevance of shoreline erosion and slumping to the nutrient budget of a large reservoir: Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan, Canada. Journal of Great Lakes Research.41 (Suppl. 2): 110–117. PDF


North, R.L., Khan, N.H., Ahsan, M., Prestie*, C., Korber, D.R., Lawrence, J.R., and Hudson, J. 2014. Relationship between water quality parameters and bacterial indicators in a large prairie reservoir: Lake Diefenbaker, SK, Canada. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 60(4): 243–249. PDF

North, R.P., North, R.L., Livingstone, D.M., Köster, O., and Kipfer, R. 2014. Long-term changes in hypoxia and soluble reactive phosphorus in the hypolimnion of a large temperate lake: consequences of a climate regime shift. Global Change Biology. 20: 811–823. PDF


Palmer, M.E., Hiriart-Baer, V.P., North, R.L. and Rennie, M.D. 2013. Toward a better understanding of Lake Simcoe through integrative and collaborative monitoring and research. Inland Waters. 3: 47–50. PDF

North, R.L., D. Barton, A.S. Crowe, P.J. Dillon, R.M.L. Dolson, D.O. Evans, B.K. Ginn, L. Håkanson, J. Hawryshyn, H. Jarjanazi, J.W. King, J.K.L. La Rose, L. León, C.F.M. Lewis, G.E. Liddle, Z.H. Lin, F.J. Longstaffe, R.A. Macdonald, L. Molot13, T. Ozersky, M.E. Palmer, R. Quinlan, M.D. Rennie1, M.M. Robillard, D. Rodé, K.M. Rühland, A. Schwalb, J.P. Smol, E. Stainsby, J.J. Trumpickas, J.G. Winter, and J.D.Young. 2013. The state of Lake Simcoe (Ontario, Canada): the effects of multiple stressors on phosphorus and oxygen dynamics. Inland Waters. 3: 51–74. PDF

Palmer, M.E., Hiriart-Baer, V.P., North, R.L., Rennie, M.D. 2013. Summary of Lake Simcoe’s past, present, and future. Inland Waters. 3: 119–124. All authors contributed equally to this paper. PDF

Miles*, J.J., Eimers, M.C., North, R.L. and Dillon, P.J. 2013. Spatial distribution and temporal variability in the forms of phosphorus in the Beaver River subwatershed of Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Inland Waters. 3: 179–186. PDF

North, R.L., Winter, J.G. and Dillon, P.J. 2013. Nutrient indicators of agricultural impacts in the tributaries of a large lake. Inland Waters. 3: 221–234. PDF

Quinn*, C.J., North, R.L., and Dillon, P.J. 2013. Year-round patterns in bacterial production and biomass in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada: are heterotrophic bacteria a significant contributor to low hypolimnetic oxygen? Inland Waters. 3: 235–252. PDF

Baranowska*, K.A., North, R.L., Winter, J.G. and Dillon, P.J. 2013. Long-term seasonal effects of dreissenid mussels on phytoplankton in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Inland Waters. 3: 285–296. PDF


North, R.L., R.E.H. Smith, R.E Hecky, D.C. Depew, L.F. León, M.N. Charlton, and S.J. Guildford. 2012. Distribution of seston and nutrient concentrations in the eastern basin of Lake Erie pre- and post-dreissenid mussel introduction. J. Great Lakes Res. 38: 463–476. PDF

Havens, S.M., C.S. Hassler, R.L. North, S.J. Guildford, G. Silsbe, S.W. Wilhelm, and M.R. Twiss. 2012. Iron plays a role in nitrate drawdown by phytoplankton in Lake Erie surface waters as observed in lake wide assessments. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 69 (2): 369–381. PDF


Whitehead, P.G., L. Jin, H.M. Baulch, D.A. Butterfield, S.K. Oni, P.J. Dillon, M. Futter, A.J. Wade, R. North, E.M. O’Connor, and H.P. Jarvie. 2011. Modelling phosphorus dynamics in multi-branch river systems: A study of the Black River, Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Science of the Total Environment. 412–413: 315–323. PDF


North, R.L., S.J. Guildford, R.E.H. Smith, M.R. Twiss, and H.J. Kling. 2008. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron colimitation ofphytoplankton communities in the nearshore and offshore regions of the African Great Lakes. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 30 (2): 259–264. PDF


North, R.L., S.J. Guildford, R.E.H. Smith, S.M. Havens, and M.R. Twiss. 2007. Evidence for phosphorus, nitrogen, and iron colimitation of phytoplankton communities in Lake Erie. Limnol. Oceanogr. 52: 315–328. PDF


Guildford, S. J., R.E. Hecky, R.E.H. Smith, W.D. Taylor, M.N. Charlton, L. Barlow Busch, and R.L. North. 2005. Phytoplankton nutrient status in Lake Erie in 1997. J. Great Lakes Res. 31: 72–88. PDF