The Ecology of Nuisance
Algal Blooms in Lake Michigan
During the 1960s and 1970s,
the filamentous green alga, Cladophora spp., accumulated in large quantities
in many parts of the Laurentian Great Lakes. The problem appeared to have
been solved following phosphorus reduction programs in the 1970s and 1980s.
However, there has been a recent resurgence of this nuisance alga along
the western shores of Lake Michigan and in other parts of the Great Lakes,
resulting in potential health threats and a loss of aesthetic quality.
The primary objective of our
current research is to determine the potential causes of Cladophora accumulation
along the lake's western shore. Factors that are being investigated include
nearshore hydrodynamics, light availability, substratum distribution (Cladophora
usually grows on a hard substratum), and nutrient availability. Potential
interactions between zebra mussels and Cladophora are also being studied.
Support for this research is
provided by the Wisconsin
Coastal Management Program, the Milwaukee
Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes National Program Office.