Cyanobacteria Blooms

Cladophora Mat

Water Sample loaded with algal cells

HPLC-MS for Algal Toxin Analysis


Cyanobacteria Blooms

Cyanobacteria blooms continue to cause recreation and water supply problems in the Great Lakes basin. Our laboratory is involved in the measurement of cyanotoxins, and the investigation of the role of environmental parameters in bloom dynamics.  The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory  provided LC/MS confirmation that microcystin congeners were present in samples collected from Lake Erie by the NOAA, and expanded cyanotoxin analyses to include anatoxin.  We measured anatoxin in 20 samples, and the compound was found in 8 samples at low levels.  We are in the process of expanding our research focus into the areas of in situ bloom assessment and genomics.  We are also examining cyanotoxins in Silver Lake as part of a project with AWRI (Steinman Laboratory) and USGS.  A graduate student (Sarah Stamann) used this project to conduct additional experiments on cyanobacteria recruitment for her thesis.  Her preliminary results have shown that Gloeotrichia blooms in Silver Lake do not produce significant amounts of cyanotoxins and that recruitment dynamics are influenced by sediment phosphorus concentrations and temperature.  Most of our previous research has focused on Microcystis and other common cyanobacteria species.  Gloeotrichia blooms are more frequently reported in west Michigan lakes and we look forward to conducting further research with this species with respect to sediment chemistry and climate change.