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Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1649-1663; doi:10.3390/toxins7051649

Spatial and Temporal Patterns in the Seasonal Distribution of Toxic Cyanobacteria in Western Lake Erie from 2002–2014

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
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Academic Editor: Lesley V. D'Anglada
Received: 17 March 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
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Abstract

Lake Erie, the world’s tenth largest freshwater lake by area, has had recurring blooms of toxic cyanobacteria for the past two decades. These blooms pose potential health risks for recreation, and impact the treatment of drinking water. Understanding the timing and distribution of the blooms may aid in planning by local communities and resources managers. Satellite data provides a means of examining spatial patterns of the blooms. Data sets from MERIS (2002–2012) and MODIS (2012–2014) were analyzed to evaluate bloom patterns and frequencies. The blooms were identified using previously published algorithms to detect cyanobacteria (~25,000 cells mL−1), as well as a variation of these algorithms to account for the saturation of the MODIS ocean color bands. Images were binned into 10-day composites to reduce cloud and mixing artifacts. The 13 years of composites were used to determine frequency of presence of both detectable cyanobacteria and high risk (>100,000 cells mL−1) blooms. The bloom season according to the satellite observations falls within June 1 and October 31. Maps show the pattern of development and areas most commonly impacted during all years (with minor and severe blooms). Frequencies during years with just severe blooms (minor bloom years were not included in the analysis) were examined in the same fashion. With the annual forecasts of bloom severity, these frequency maps can provide public water suppliers and health departments with guidance on the timing of potential risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: harmful algae; cyanobacteria; ecological forecasting; Lake Erie; remote sensing; MODIS; MERIS; blue-green algae harmful algae; cyanobacteria; ecological forecasting; Lake Erie; remote sensing; MODIS; MERIS; blue-green algae
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wynne, T.T.; Stumpf, R.P. Spatial and Temporal Patterns in the Seasonal Distribution of Toxic Cyanobacteria in Western Lake Erie from 2002–2014. Toxins 2015, 7, 1649-1663.

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