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MERHAB 2002: Tier-Based Monitoring for Toxic Cyanobacteria in the Lower Great Lakes

Author(s): Boyer, Gregory

NCCOS Center: CSCOR

Name of Publisher: SUNY ESF

Place of Publication: Syracuse, NY

Publication Type: Progress Report

Date of Publication: 2008

Reference Information: Final Progress Report, award number NA16OP2788

Extent of Work: 27 pp.

Keywords: Great Lakes; monitoring; cyanobacteria; Lake Ontario; Lake Erie; Lake Champlain; analytical chemistry; MERHAB

Abstract: The MERHAB-Lower Great Lakes Project was a multi-investigator and multi-institutional project designed to look at a broad spectrum of monitoring and response techniques that could be used for toxic cyanobacterial blooms on Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Champlain. This project compared chemical and biological methods for toxin determination, classical taxonomy and molecular methods for identifying toxic and potentially toxic species, event-driven, formal bi-weekly, synoptic and volunteer based sample collection protocols, remote sensing techniques and the application of particle drift models to predict future movement of the blooms. It developed a broad based outreach program that has been used as a model by several of the Great Lakes Sea Grant programs and has generated widespread interest and visibility regarding toxic cyanobacteria in these essential resources. The group participated in more than 65 research cruises between 2002 and 2008, plus hundreds of additional weekly, biweekly and spot sampling trips. Most important were the first every whole lake synoptic and temporal surveys of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Champlain. More than 55 publications appeared in scientific journals to date; the project generated 11 M.S. and 5 Ph.D. dissertations, and MERHAB investigators gave more than 200 presentations at seminars, scientific meetings or workshops. The toxin analysis group established itself as a national presence and now collaborates and runs samples for Universities and Government health departments nationwide – providing a needed consistency in analytical methods. Tools were developed that help outside users track eventual movement of a bloom, use satellite imagery to gather whole lake information and provide valuable instruction in how to incorporate molecular techniques and citizen monitors into any future monitoring program.

Availability: Available from NCCOS Publications Explorer

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