FORecasting tools and Mitigation options for diverse BLOOM-affected lakes

Is the future blue-green?

Freshwater lakes and reservoirs cut across Canada provide numerous services for local communities ranging from drinking water to recreation. Unfortunately, these same ecosystems are susceptible to a changing climate and nutrient loading. Cyanobacteria, a common photosynthetic group of microbes in freshwater lakes, are known to grow in excess (or bloom) when nutrients loads are high. Under these conditions, cyanobacteria may have detrimental effects on human, animal, and ecosystem health. 

Solving the problem of blooms requires an understanding of how the physical environment links to geochemistry and bloom ecology, and this understanding must exist on the timescale upon which blooms develop and collapse – minutes to hours to weeks. And while solving blooms is a grand challenge, managing their impact is a key interim goal. This project is designed to address key environmental factors that drive bloom onset, duration, and cessation while also evaluating the impact blooms have on ecosystem services, working with ecosystem managers to understand how we might mitiate blooms, and how we can manage bloom risk.

Cross-institutional collaborative solutions for mitigating cyanobacterial blooms

The FORMBLOOM project, led by Dr. Helen Baulch and Dr. Jason Venkiteswaran, links researchers across Canada to produce a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding bloom formation and developing tools to mitigate the effects of harmful algal blooms. As part of the Global Water Futures program, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, SK), the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, ON) are united with collaborative efforts from scientists at IISD Experimenal Lakes Area and through the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network.

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