Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016IN395B

Predicting toxic cyanobacteria blooms in the Wabash River Watershed

Institute: Indiana
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,000

Principal Investigators: Allison Rober, Kevin Wyatt

Abstract: The proposed study will assess the effect of temperature on the production and release of microcystin by toxin-producing cyanobacteria to better understand environmental controls on toxin release in eutrophic freshwater ecosystems. This research is significant given the increasing prevalence of harmful algal blooms within the Wabash River Watershed and their influence on water quality and human health. During the proposed study, toxin producing cyanobacteria will be grown at temperatures ranging from 5-30C (5C increments) to determine if there is a temperature threshold for productivity and toxin release during laboratory incubation experiments. Laboratory experiments will be coupled with a field survey of temporal variation in cyanotoxin prevalence and concentration in lakes and streams within the Wabash River Watershed. Toxin release among experimental temperature treatments will be related to variation in toxin concentrations along the seasonal temperature gradient captured during the field survey. These data will be used to develop a predictive model that will aid in the development of water quality management strategies to reduce harmful algal blooms and public-health risk.