Predicting Toxic Cyanobacteria Blooms in the Wabash River Watershed

Project Title: Predicting toxic cyanobacteria blooms in the Wabash River Watershed

Principal Investigator(s): Kevin H. Wyatt, Ball State University, Department of Biology

Dates: March 2016-February 2017

Total Federal Funds:  Total Non-Federal Funds:

Project Reports
Project Factsheet

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 5-30°C (5°C 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.