The Bloom Gloom: Monitoring Cyanobacteria in Georgia’s Lakes

Project Team: Georgia Water Resources Team
Team Location: University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Sample Time Series Composite of Phycocyanin concentration in Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair, prepared using Landsat 8 imagery (April 13, 2014). Image Credit: Georgia Water Resources Team.

Sample Time Series Composite of Phycocyanin concentration in Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair, prepared using Landsat 8 imagery (April 13, 2014). Image Credit: Georgia Water Resources Team.

Authors:
Ike Sari Astuti
Bradley Bartelme
Shuvankar Ghosh
Danielle Haskett
Benjamin Page
Caren Remillard
Simmone Simpson

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Deepak Mishra (University of Georgia)
Dr. Susan Wilde (University of Georgia)

Past/Other Contributors:
Elizabeth Benyshek (DEVELOP)

Abstract:
The effects of anthropogenic eutrophication are intensified in Georgia’s watersheds due to increasing temperatures, frequent drought events, and nutrients that promote primary productivity in reservoirs. These factors may ultimately lead to the formation of toxic Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (CyanoHABs or HABs). The abundance of phycocyanin, a phycobiliprotein, may be used as a proxy to assess the amount of cyanobacteria biomass that is present in a water body and is useful as a cyanobacterial bloom indicator. The Georgia Water Resources Project developed an early detection tool to aid in the identification and spatial distribution of phytoplankton and blue green algae (cyanobacteria) for Georgia inland waters using Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data paired with hyperspectral data. In collaboration with Georgia Power Co. (GPC), a model upscaling procedure demonstrated the feasibility of using Landsat 8 sensors to detect cyanobacteria reflectance patterns. A suite of time-series maps were generated using the developed model in order to spotlight areas of high concentrations of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria. Analysis of these maps helped to elucidate the phenological characteristics of CyanoHABS (bloom initiation, growth and senescence). These maps will assist in the maintenance of water quality throughout Georgia.

 

 

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