Evaluation Of Toxic Cyanobacteria In Central Florida Stormwater Ponds

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Miller, Robert
Cyanobacteria; Blue-green algae; Stormwater; Ponds
thesis / dissertation description
Algal blooms are a common occurrence in water bodies of all shapes and sizes throughout the United States and countries around the world. The State of Florida is no exception to this phenomenon. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, have proven to be of special concern due to its proliferation and potential to produce toxins that are harmful to humans, livestock and wildlife. A casual drive along the roads and in the neighborhoods of central Florida will confirm algal conditions in many areas. The potential for exposure to harmful and possibly fatal toxins associated with these algal blooms are becoming more evident as urban development progresses. Detailed studies have been previously performed for large lakes and rivers in the State of Florida, but no studies have been performed regarding stormwater ponds. Since stormwater ponds in residential neighborhoods are a common source for irrigation, research in this area is warranted due to the potential health effects associated with Cyanobacteria. This research was conducted to determine if Cyanobacteria does exist in stormwater ponds and to what extent. Cyanobacteria were found to be in stormwater ponds of various sizes, locations and watersheds in the central Florida area. Even though the algae and its associated toxins were encountered in the stormwater ponds evaluated for this study, the levels detected were much lower than the values discovered in previous studies performed in the larger lakes and rivers around the State.