Cyanotoxins in Fish: Assessing the Risk

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Victoria Christensen

NPS Investigators: Ryan Maki

Project Details

Start Year: 2019

Category: Technical Assistance

Project Location

NPS Park: Voyageurs NP

USGS Center: Upper Midwest Water Science Center

States: MN

In 2016 and 2017, saxitoxin, a potent cyanotoxin, was detected multiple times in three regularly occurring VOYA algal blooms. This project will determine if saxitoxin and other detected toxins (anatoxin-a and microcystin) accumulate in fish from Voyageurs National Park lakes.

This project will measure concentrations of cyanotoxins in fish collected near areas impacted by toxin-producing cyantobacterial blooms in parts of Rainy and Kabetogama lakes in VOYA. Specifically, the goal is to determine if microcystin, anatoxin-a, and saxitoxin are accumulating in walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and white suckers.

To help us achieve this goal, the specific objectives are to:

  • Analyze microcystin, saxitoxin, and anatoxin-a concentrations in the muscle, brain, kidney, and liver of adult fish and whole young-of-the-year fish at VOYA.
  • Compare concentrations of toxins at various trophic levels.
  • Compare concentrations between sites in Kabetogama and Rainy Lakes and to locations of recurring algal blooms.