Field methods in the study of toxic cyanobacterial blooms: results and insights from Lake Erie Research
Sound field methodologies are an essential prerequisite in the development of a basic understanding of toxic cyanobacteria blooms. Sample collection, on–site processing, storage and transportation, and subsequent analysis and documentation are all critically dependent on a sound field program that allows the researcher to construct, with minimal uncertainty, linkages between bloom events and cyanotoxin production with the ecology of the studied system. Since 1999, we have collected samples in Lake Erie as part of the MELEE (Microbial Ecology of the Lake Erie Ecosystem) and MERHAB–LGL (Monitoring Event Responses for Harmful Algal Blooms in the Lower Great Lakes) research programs to develop appropriate tools and refine methods necessary to characterize the ecology of the reoccurring cyanobacterial blooms in the systems. Satellite imagery, large ship expeditions, classical and novel molecular tools have been combined to provide insight into both the cyanobacteria responsible for these events as well as into some of the environmental cues that may facilitate the formation of toxic blooms. This information, as well new directions in cyano–specific monitoring will be presented to highlight needs for field program monitoring and/or researching toxic freshwater cyanobacteria.
KeywordsCyanobacterial Bloom Microcystis Aeruginosa Spirulina Platensis Toxic Cyanobacterium Synechococcus Elongatus
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