Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria)
Cyanobacteria is one of the oldest types of lifeforms on Earth and is found primarily in freshwater systems. There are thousands of species of cyanobacteria and many are known to produce a variety of toxins.
Cyanobacteria is a photosynthetic microorganism that processes sunlight, nitrogen and phosphorous to live. They can regualate their position in the water column for optimal light and thrive in warm, nutrient-rich fresh or brackish water with low turbulence.
Microcystis and Anabaena are two of the most common cyanobacteria found in estuarine systems today. These bacteria are known to produce cyanotoxins dangerous to humans and animals. Microcystin and Anatoxin are classes of hepatoxin and neurotoxin, affecting the liver and brain, respectively.
Human and animal exposure to Cyantoxins comes in three primary forms of contact:
- Dermal contact
- Inhalation or aspiration from aerosolized surface water
Related News Stories
Harmful Algal Blooms
A recent News-Press article (“Well-known FGCU professor accused of downplaying blue-green algae by water advocate”) overlooks the principal barrier to public understanding of Florida’s persistent blue-green algae – the calibration of exposure to risk.
So far this summer, Army Corps officials have been releasing Lake Okeechobee water in pulses as the lake level rises and the wet season continues, which is leading to blue waters of the Caloosahatchee Estuary and connected waterways to turn green with algal blooms.
Water infested with blue-green algae is not safe to swim in, play in or drink because of harmful toxins. Although, far less is known about what’s in the air regarding those same algae outbreaks. Calusa Waterkeeper & volunteers deploy ADAM, aka Aerosol Detector for Algae Monitoring, to monitor & sample air near algae outbreak hotspots.
Calusa Waterkeeper continues to deploy their high-tech ADAM devices around our local watershed for studying the blue-green algae outbreaks. Blooms are present on the lake, in the Caloosahatchee and along canals in Southwest Florida.
A toxic blue-green algae bloom that’s been drifting around downtown Fort Myers has now spread to other areas, including the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Calusa Waterkeeper Codty Pierce deploys an aerosol detection for algae monitoring unit along the Caloosahatchee River near algae hot spots.
A toxic blue-green algae bloom appears to be strengthening in the Caloosahatchee, as green slicks of the organisms are visible in Fort Myers. “I’ve been seeing it around the Edison Bridges and a little downtown,” said Calusa Waterkeeper Codty Pierce. “It’s that lime-green streaking at the surface.”
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