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Harmful Algal Blooms Data & Products

Harmful Algal Bloom

There are many species of single-celled organisms living in the Great Lakes, including algae. When certain conditions are present, such as high nutrient or light levels, these organisms can reproduce rapidly. This dense population of algae is called a bloom. Some of these blooms are harmless, but when the blooming organisms contain toxins, other noxious chemicals, or pathogens, it is known as a harmful algal bloom, or HAB. HAB's can cause the death of nearby fish and foul up nearby coastlines, and produce harmful conditions to aquatic life as well as humans.The focus of this research project is to determine the factors controlling microcystin production and to develop methods for determining cyanobacteria blooms from satellite imagery. Imagery is currently available, but we do not know how to discriminate toxic Microcystis blooms from other algal blooms within the images. The combined field data and satellite image data produced from the initial efforts of this project are critical first steps in the characterization of bloom dynamics and development of future bloom forecasting tools.

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