Flathead Lake Biological Station Faculty Member Wins Award

Award is from one of the largest and most prestigious international societies for water scientists

By Beacon Staff

Shawn Devlin, an assistant research professor at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, is the 2017 recipient of the Raymond B. Lindeman Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

The award is from one of the largest and most prestigious international societies for water scientists and annually recognizes an outstanding paper written by an aquatic scientist. Bio station director Jim Elser previously won the award.

Devlin is receiving the honor at this month’s annual Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Hawaii.

Devlin’s paper, “Top Consumer Abundance Influences Lake Methane Efflux” was published in the journal Nature Communications and showed that methane released from a lake was greatly influenced by the presence or absence of fish. In his research, conducted in Finland prior to arriving at Flathead Lake, Devlin split a small lake in half. In one half he added fish, while the other half remained fishless. A trophic cascade occurred in the half with fish, where the fish ate most of the zooplankton, allowing bacteria that consume methane to grow. This resulted in 10 times less methane being released where fish were present, according to Devlin’s paper.

Devlin was recently lead author on a paper about Mysis shrimp in Flathead Lake entitled, “Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Invasive Freshwater Shrimp (Mysis Diluviana): Long-Term Effects on Ecosystem Properties in a Large Oligotrophic Lake” published in the journal Ecosystems. The paper showed that more than 30 years after arriving in Flathead Lake, Mysis shrimp are still affecting all aspects of Flathead Lake’s ecology, that their population has been fluctuating widely, and that in some years they appear to be reproducing twice as opposed to just once as previously documented.

The Flathead Lake Biological Station is one of the oldest and most respected field stations in the U.S.