Establishing Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Microcystis Sediment Seed Stock Viability and Their Relationship to Subsequent Bloom Development in Western Lake Erie

Christine Knight
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE)
Christine Knight is a 2nd Year MS student at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. She obtained her BS in Environmental Science at North Carolina State University and completed an undergraduate thesis project that analyzed the effectiveness of home filtration systems in removing arsenic in contaminated groundwater. She now works with Tom Johengen at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor studying the ecology of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Western Lake Erie. She hopes to eventually build upon her research and development holistic methods for combatting HABs and the water quality impairments they bring.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Tim Davis, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL); Tom Johengen, SNRE- Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research

In order to investigate the viability of Microcystis vegetative seed stocks and its relationship to harmful algal bloom (HAB) development in Western Lake Erie, sediment samples were collected from different points within the western basin across a two year time period. Sample collection occurred each year in both the fall, just after the initial settling, and in the spring, during recruitment. QPCR techniques identified and quantified both toxic and non-toxic seed concentrations in samples. Spatial and temporal comparisons were accomplished using interpolation tools in ArcMap. Results indicate that not only do vegetative seed stocks vary both spatially and temporally, but that there are clear “hotspots” in seed stock concentrations. In the event that seed stock composition and viability has a strong impact on the temporal and spatial appearance of blooms, further research will determine methods to prevent the recruitment of Microcystis from the seed stocks and consequent HABs development.

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