Eutrophication and Harmful Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity and Functionality of Aquatic Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 7699

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
Interests: eutrophication; nutritional ecology; harmful algae; water quality

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Guest Editor
Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, USA
Interests: nutrients in aquatic systems; eutrophication; algal production, harmful algal blooms; stable isotopes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Harmful algae are increasing caused by nutrient pollution, warming, and other human-related activities across the globe, but there is still confusion around their chronic impacts and the complexities of their responses to multiple stressors. “Eutrophication and harmful algae” has been the focus of decades of research and is increasingly regarded as a critically important topic in aquatic science.  Recent studies have strengthened basic information. Improved approaches and models to estimate nutrient loads, for example, are beginning to yield more a accurate assessment of chronic impacts that are needed to set more realistic water quality restoration goals. However, many challenges remain, especially surrounding how the synergistic effects of warming, acidification, hypoxia, floods, drought, etc., affect these blooms.

This Special Issue aims to highlight some recent advances in this broad yet compelling topic. Coverage includes new insights on the ecology of harmful algae and their basic impacts on aquatic ecosystems, the synergisms in their toxin effects, models that yield more reliable predictions, and the “science/policy border” in efforts to protect aquatic ecosystems from degradation due to nutrient pollution and harmful algae.

Prof. Dr. JoAnn Burkholder
Prof. Dr. Patricia Glibert
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • climate change
  • harmful algae
  • eutrophication × climate interactions
  • nutrient criteria
  • nitrogen
  • phosphorus
  • nutrient supplies and supply ratios
  • predictive models

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 2534 KiB  
Article
Mitigation of Karenia brevis Cells and Brevetoxins Using Curcumin, a Natural Supplement
by Emily R. Hall, Cynthia A. Heil, Jessica D. Frankle, Sarah Klass, Victoria Devillier, Vincent Lovko, Jennifer H. Toyoda and Richard Pierce
Water 2024, 16(10), 1458; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16101458 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Curcumin, a natural plant product, was investigated as a mitigation tool against Karenia brevis, the toxic dinoflagellate responsible for Florida red tides. A series of laboratory bench-top studies were conducted with additions of 0.1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 [...] Read more.
Curcumin, a natural plant product, was investigated as a mitigation tool against Karenia brevis, the toxic dinoflagellate responsible for Florida red tides. A series of laboratory bench-top studies were conducted with additions of 0.1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 mg/L curcumin to K. brevis at an average of 1.0 × 106 cells/L to determine the efficacy of curcumin against K. brevis cells and brevetoxins and to optimize treatment dosage. Treatment with 5 mg/L of curcumin reduced K. brevis cell abundance by 89% and total brevetoxins by 60% within 24 h. Lower concentrations of curcumin (0.1–3 mg/L) exhibited between a 2 and 45% reduction in K. brevis and a reduction in brevetoxins of between 2 and 44% within 24 h. At the highest curcumin doses, 30 and 40 mg/L, a 100% reduction in cell abundance was observed by 6 h, with reduction in total brevetoxins by at least 64% in 48 h. These results suggest that curcumin, used alone or potentially in combination with other technologies, is a promising K. brevis bloom mitigation option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eutrophication and Harmful Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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24 pages, 8090 KiB  
Article
Karenia brevis and Pyrodinium bahamense Utilization of Dissolved Organic Matter in Urban Stormwater Runoff and Rainfall Entering Tampa Bay, Florida
by Amanda L. Muni-Morgan, Mary G. Lusk and Cynthia A. Heil
Water 2024, 16(10), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16101448 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 452
Abstract
This study investigated how nitrogen and dissolved organic matter (DOM) from stormwater runoff and rainfall support the growth of Karenia brevis and Pyrodinium bahamense. Excitation–emission matrix spectroscopy coupled with parallel factor analysis tracked changes in the optical properties of DOM in each [...] Read more.
This study investigated how nitrogen and dissolved organic matter (DOM) from stormwater runoff and rainfall support the growth of Karenia brevis and Pyrodinium bahamense. Excitation–emission matrix spectroscopy coupled with parallel factor analysis tracked changes in the optical properties of DOM in each bioassay, revealing greater reactivity of terrestrial humic-like DOM. Significant increases in cell yield and specific growth rates were observed upon additions of runoff for both species, with significant increases in specific growth rates upon the addition of a 2 in simulated rain event for P. bahamense only. By hour 48, 100% of the dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) in each treatment was utilized by P. bahamense, and by hour 72, over 50% of the DON was utilized by K. brevis. The percentage of bioavailable dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was greater for P. bahamense compared to K. brevis, suggesting a greater affinity for DOC compounds by P. bahamense. However, the bioavailability of DOM for each species could be owed to distinct chemical characteristics of labile DOM conveyed from each site. This study demonstrates that stormwater runoff and rainfall are both sources of labile DOM and DON for K. brevis and P. bahamense, which has implications for blooms of these species in Tampa Bay waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eutrophication and Harmful Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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48 pages, 4804 KiB  
Article
Watershed Development and Eutrophying Potable Source-Water Reservoirs in a Warming Temperate/Subtropical Region
by JoAnn M. Burkholder, Carol A. Kinder and Elle H. Allen
Water 2023, 15(22), 4007; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15224007 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Reservoirs are increasingly valuable worldwide as potable source waters, yet in many geographic regions, their limnology and trophic status are poorly known. We characterized 14 drinking water reservoirs and their watersheds across the warming temperate/subtropical southeastern USA. Selected reservoirs had at least three [...] Read more.
Reservoirs are increasingly valuable worldwide as potable source waters, yet in many geographic regions, their limnology and trophic status are poorly known. We characterized 14 drinking water reservoirs and their watersheds across the warming temperate/subtropical southeastern USA. Selected reservoirs had at least three years of accessible summer water quality data during 2010–2020, including Secchi depth, nutrients, and algal biomass as chlorophyll a, and depth profiles for temperature and dissolved oxygen. Most watersheds, including lands within a 10-km radius of the reservoirs, had sustained substantial urbanization and/or intensive industrialized animal production, in some cases including the discharge of partially treated human sewage or livestock slaughterhouse wastes near or into the reservoirs. Five reservoirs were assessed as mesotrophic; the others were eutrophic. Most were stratified, but ephemeral near-surface thermoclines were common, and many were too shallow (median depth 5.0 m) to maintain uniform temperatures in the relatively warm hypolimnia. Bottom-water hypoxia/anoxia occurred throughout the summers but, surprisingly, in 8 of 14 reservoirs hypoxia commonly extended to surface waters. In the Southeast as in many regions, drinking water reservoirs are poorly protected and degrading as livestock production and/or urban development increasingly characterize their watersheds. The eutrophication trajectory of these valuable resources should be used as an indicator of ecosystem health and water quality in developing more protective management and policy actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eutrophication and Harmful Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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19 pages, 4420 KiB  
Article
Relationship between Cyanobacterial Abundance and Physicochemical Variables in the Ebro Basin Reservoirs (Spain)
by Rebeca Pérez-González, Xavier Sòria-Perpinyà, Juan Soria, Maria D. Sendra and Eduardo Vicente
Water 2023, 15(14), 2538; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15142538 - 11 Jul 2023
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Abstract
One of the main problems arising in inland waterbodies is nutrient enrichment that accelerates eutrophication, causing massive cyanobacteria blooms and degrading aquatic ecosystems. This study focused on physical/chemical factors that affect cyanobacteria of 30 reservoirs in the Ebro River basin within the Iberian [...] Read more.
One of the main problems arising in inland waterbodies is nutrient enrichment that accelerates eutrophication, causing massive cyanobacteria blooms and degrading aquatic ecosystems. This study focused on physical/chemical factors that affect cyanobacteria of 30 reservoirs in the Ebro River basin within the Iberian Peninsula of northeastern Spain. The abundance of cyanobacteria was assessed as total cell number, total biovolume, and the indicator pigment, total phycocyanin (PC). In addition, empirical measurements for PC were compared to PC estimated from remote sensing. Variables assessed for correlation with cyanobacteria abundance included temperature, pH, light availability inferred from Secchi depth, water residence time, total nitrogen, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, silica, and total phytoplankton biomass as chlorophyll a. These variables were also assessed with a multi-statistical principal component analysis for relationships with cyanobacteria abundance. Cyanobacteria cell number and biovolume were positively correlated with temperature, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and water residence time, and negatively correlated with silica. High PC concentrations were documented in the reservoirs, and satellite images from remote sensing showed the PC spatial distribution and heterogeneity in the reservoirs. The PCA results show that some variables, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are closely related to the abundance of cyanobacteria, while other variables such as silica do not show a clear relationship. This study contributes to the knowledge base about inland waterbodies from a physical/chemical perspective, which had not been done before in the Ebro Basin, including the application of analytic tools such as remote sensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eutrophication and Harmful Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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16 pages, 8647 KiB  
Article
Harmful Algal Blooms: A Prolific Issue in Urban Stormwater Ponds
by Amy E. Grogan, Catharina Alves-de-Souza, Lawrence B. Cahoon and Michael A. Mallin
Water 2023, 15(13), 2436; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15132436 - 1 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3826
Abstract
Nutrient-driven cyanobacteria blooms are an increasingly common issue in freshwater environments, particularly in anthropogenically altered landscapes. As stormwater runoff is one of the largest sources of nutrients for freshwater bodies, stormwater retention ponds in urban and suburban areas are likely environments for harmful [...] Read more.
Nutrient-driven cyanobacteria blooms are an increasingly common issue in freshwater environments, particularly in anthropogenically altered landscapes. As stormwater runoff is one of the largest sources of nutrients for freshwater bodies, stormwater retention ponds in urban and suburban areas are likely environments for harmful cyanobacteria blooms and were thus targeted for an in-depth investigation assessing taxonomic composition, bloom morphological composition, toxicity, and impact of nutrients and other environmental drivers. Eighty-seven algal blooms were sampled from 2019 to 2022 in the greater Wilmington, North Carolina, area. Physicochemical parameters were recorded, and blooms were classified by type (defined as surface mat, surface scum, water column distribution, or benthic mat) and dominant taxa. Blooms of potentially toxic cyanobacteria genera in the water column of stormwater retention ponds were most prevalent. Dissolved inorganic phosphorus was significantly related to chlorophyll-α, Microcystis bloom formation, and the production of microcystin. Seventeen potentially toxic cyanobacteria genera were identified in retention ponds, some of whose blooms demonstrated detectable microcystin. Monoclonal cultures isolated from some blooms were found to produce anabaenopeptin and saxitoxin. The results demonstrate a higher incidence of potentially toxic cyanobacteria over other bloom-forming taxa (chlorophytes, euglenoids, chrysophytes, dinoflagellates, and diatoms) in the 39 water bodies sampled. The frequency of blooms occurring in stormwater ponds and the diversity of potentially toxic cyanobacteria identified suggest such harmful blooms are likely widespread in similar freshwater environments across multiple urbanizing areas. The blooms sampled in this study were all within residential, commercial, or recreational areas easily accessible to people, presenting serious hazards to both environmental and public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eutrophication and Harmful Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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