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Global climate change and harmful algal blooms

Elena Litchman, MSU Foundation Professor, and her research team conduct long-term monitoring of several lakes in southwest Michigan to investigate potential links between climate, lake physical structure and the occurrence and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs). They found significant inter-annual variability in HABs in some lakes that are mesotrophic, but not in eutrophic or oligotrophic lakes. Nighttime temperatures were a better predictor of HABs than daytime temperatures. Reduced water column mixing preferentially stimulated the growth of toxic cyanobacteria. The results highlight the potential mechanisms for HAB formation and maintenance.