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Research Interests

Lakes can be heavily influenced by what happens in their watersheds. Land use patterns, changes in the dominant vegetation, and anthropogenic impacts all have an effect on lake biogeochemistry and food webs. At the same time, internal and biological processes in lakes can sometimes be more important than external influences. Dr. Kelly uses a combination of field surveys, experiments, and mathematical modeling to study the relative roles of watershed characteristics and internal physical and biological processes in regulating lake nutrients and food web productivity. Specifically, the Aquatic Ecosystem Ecology Lab at Rhodes is interested in the impact of agricultural land use and elevated nutrient inflows in altering biogeochemical processes, specifically focused on carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling. A better grasp of these lake responses to anthropogenic change will aid our ability to reduce water quality issues and preserve the ecosystem services that lakes provide.

For more information, copies of publications, and information about classes, please visit the Rhodes Aquatic Ecosystem Ecology Lab web page.

Select Publications

Kelly, P.T., W.H. Renwick, L. Knoll, and M.J. Vanni. 2019. Stream nitrogen and phosphorus loads are differentially affected by storm events and the difference may be exacerbated by conservation tillage. Environmental Science & Technology. 53:5613-5621.

Kelly, P.T., M.J. González, W.H. Renwick, and M.J. Vanni. 2018. Increased light availability and nutrient cycling by fish provide resilience against reversing eutrophication in an agriculturally impacted reservoir. Limnology and Oceanography. doi: 10.1002/lno.10966

Kelly, P.T., C.T. Solomon, J.A. Zwart, and S.E. Jones. 2018. A framework for understanding variation in pelagic gross primary production of lake ecosystems. Ecosystems. 21:1364-1376.

Jones, S.E., J.A. Zwart, P.T. Kelly, C.T. Solomon. 2018. Hydrologic setting constrains lake heterotrophy and terrestrial carbon fate. Limnology & Oceanography Letters. 3:256-264.

Kelly, P.T., B. Weidel, M. Paufve, B. O’Malley, J. Watkins, L. Rudstam, and S.E. Jones. 2017. Concentration and biochemical gradients of seston in Lake Ontario. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 43:795-803. doi: 10.1016/j.jglr.2017.03.007

Kelly, P.T., N. Craig, C.T. Solomon, B.C. Weidel, J.A. Zwart, and S.E. Jones. 2016. Experimental whole-lake increase of dissolved organic carbon concentration produces unexpected increase in crustacean zooplankton density. Global Change Biology. 22:2766-2775.

Zwart, J.A, N. Craig, P.T. Kelly, C.T. Solomon, B.C. Weidel, and S.E. Jones. 2016. Metabolic and physiochemical responses to a whole-lake experimental increase in dissolved organic carbon in a north-temperate lake. Limnology and Oceanography. 61:723-734.

Sitters, J., C. Atkinson, N. Gulzow, P.T. Kelly, and L. Sullivan. 2015. Spatial stoichiometry: cross-ecosystem material flows and their impact on recipient ecosystems and organisms. Oikos. 124: 920-930.

Kelly, P.T., C.T. Solomon, B.C. Weidel, and S.E. Jones. 2014. Terrestrial carbon is a resource, but not a subsidy, for lake zooplankton. Ecology. 95:1236-1242.



Ph.D. University of Notre Dame, 2016
M.S. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, 2012
B.S. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, 2008