DEVELOPMENT OF QPCR METHODS TO ASSESS THE SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY OF HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS
Microcystis is a common bloom forming cyanobacteria genera that is capable of creating harmful algal blooms (HABs) through the production of the hepatotoxin, microcystin. HABs can cause many negative effects to the surrounding environment that include scums on surface waters, hypoxia, or unsafe drinking water. The goal of my project is to develop quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methods that allow for early detection and quantification of toxic or non-toxic Microcystis strains to aid in the management of water resources. Currently, nutrient and environmental samples have been collected and analyzed from our study sites: Muskegon and Bear Lakes in Muskegon, Michigan. This information will be used to assess what factors are driving algal blooms and contributing to microcystin production. Furthermore, standards of our genes of interest have been developed for qPCR, and this will allow us to quantify the abundance and toxicity of Microcystis present in the water. In tandem, this data will provide a spatial and temporal profile of the bloom status in these lakes. The development of these qPCR methods will serve as a tool for lake managers to make informed decisions regarding public and environmental health.
Andrew Pyman (Primary Presenter/Author), Grand Valley State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;