Last week, GLERL scientist Tim Davis spent time down in Florida sampling and conducting field experiments in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River, two major freshwater ecosystems in Florida that are currently under a state of emergency due to the presence of harmful algal blooms.
The sampling and research we’re doing in Lake Okeechobeeo helps us get a better understanding of the environmental drivers behind changes in bloom toxicity—a main focus of the research we’re doing within our HAB research program. The work we’re doing throughout western Lake Erie, has led the creation of an experimental Lake Erie HAB Tracker and Lake Erie Experimental HAB forecast, which are used by water treatment managers and others to make important decisions about water quality in the region.
This collaboration with CILER (Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research), Stony Brook University and USGS, will prove beneficial to the continued research and better understanding of ecosystem health effects related to human-influenced water quality degradation, not only in the Great Lakes, but throughout all large freshwater systems. By comparing the genetic characteristics of the blooms in Florida to those that occur in Lake Erie, we hope to not only better understand toxicity, but also whether or not we can apply the same techniques of forecasting and monitoring in Lake Erie to other large bodies of freshwater around the world.
GLERL will continue to receive bloom samples for genetic testing of the Lake Okeechobee HAB for the rest of the season.
Note: For specific information about the bloom in Florida, please visit the responding agencies' website: For sampling information please visit Florida Department of Environmental Protection: https://depnewsroom.wordpress.com/algal-bloom-monitoring-an d-response/ For health information please visit Florida Department of Health: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/index.html For information on water management in the region please visit South Florida Water Management District: http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20pa ge