Using Molecular Tools to Understand and Predict Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom Toxicity in Kabetogama Lake, Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Victoria Christensen

NPS Investigators: Ryan Maki

Project Details

Start Year: 2016

Category: Intensive

2016 2017 2018
$98,570 $99,250 $102,180
Project Location

NPS Park: Voyageurs NP

USGS Center: Upper Midwest Water Science Center

States: MN

The goal of this research was to better understand the drivers of algal bloom toxicity in the large lakes of Voyageurs National Park so that resource managers can better predict, manage, and mitigate the occurrence of harmful algal blooms.

A total of 126 environmental samples were collected at three recreational areas where blooms frequently occur. Those samples were analyzed for field parameters, nutrients, cyanotoxins, phytoplankton abundance and community structure, and cyanobacteria by molecular methods.

As recommended by the World Health Organization, this research provided further data on Kabetogama Lake, where blooms have contained the toxin microcystin at levels exceeding the high-risk category for recreational exposure. A series of publications presented findings and documented how simple, routinely-measured chemical parameters were used as a screening tool for prediction and indication of the need for further testing.

Project Publications