Toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)

A long-standing research area primarily concerned with computer simulation of the growth and movement of problem cyanobacterial blooms and strategies for their management.

2012 Howard, A. Toxic Cyanobacteria in Bengstsson, L., Herschy, R. and Fairbridge, R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Lakes and Reservoirs. Springer. ISBN 9781402056161.

2011 Guven, B. and Howard, A. Sensitivity analysis of a cyanobacterial growth and movement model under two different flow regimes, Environmental Modeling and Assessment. 16:577-589.


  • Research reveals harmful algal blooms' daily cycles
    In new NSF-funded research, scientists at the Great Lakes Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health show that, as in the rest of life, timing is everything. Published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, their recent paper reveals a day in the life of a Microcystis bloom, says George Bullerjahn, director of the center at Bowling Green State University.
  • Research reveals harmful algal blooms' daily cycles
    In new NSF-funded research, scientists at the Great Lakes Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health show that, as in the rest of life, timing is everything. Published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, their recent paper reveals a day in the life of a Microcystis bloom, says George Bullerjahn, director of the center at Bowling Green State University.
  • Big data, artificial intelligence to support research on harmful blue-green algae
    A team of scientists from research centers stretching from Maine to South Carolina will develop and deploy high-tech tools to explore cyanobacteria in lakes across the East Coast.
  • Identifying a cyanobacterial gene family that helps control photosynthesis
    A new Michigan State University study has identified a family of genes in cyanobacteria that help control carbon dioxide fixation.
  • Researchers discover process to sustainably produce psilocybin, a drug candidate that could help treat depression
    Andrew Jones at Miami University and his team of students may have developed a research first.
  • How a biofriendly fertilizer could offer a greener way to grow plants
    Every year, a "dead zone" the size of Massachusetts sprawls across the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River, which travels through the nation's farm belt, sweeps excess fertilizer and dumps the chemicals into the Gulf, where they feed rampant algae, deplete oxygen, and kill marine life.
  • Researcher urges use of microbes for space colonization
    With the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program's first landing of humans on the moon, the eyes and hopes of the world turn skyward again.
  • Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms
    Scientists at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) have found that pollution by fungicides can have unforeseen but far-reaching consequences for the functioning of aquatic systems.
  • The new gene technology makes it easier to characterize phytoplankton assemblages
    Unicellular microorganisms are the most abundant form of life on Earth in terms of quantity and variety. In the doctoral dissertation under review at the University of Jyväskylä, a new gene technology was developed to replace the laborious microscopic identification of small phytoplankton species. The method can be useful, for example, in detecting phenomena caused by climate change. The new method can be used to monitor blooms of harmful cyanobacterial.
  • Keeping your dog safe from toxic blue-green algae
    When we see green, scummy water, we know better than to drink it or even swim in it. But the same is not true for many dogs, and that green scum could be a toxic blue-green algae bloom, which can be fatal to animals.
  • Early life on Earth limited by enzyme
    The enzyme-nitrogenase-can be traced back to the universal common ancestor of all cells more than four billion years ago.
  • The Paleozoic diet: Why animals eat what they eat
    In what is likely the first study to look at how dietary preferences evolved across the animal kingdom, UA researchers looked at more than a million species, going back 800 million years. The team reports several unexpected discoveries, including that the first animal likely was a carnivore and that humans, along with other omnivores, belong to a rare breed.
  • How synthetic biology can help the environment
    Most environmental science is focused on how to turn back the clock, not push it forward, says Ben Bostick, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "We think about how we can roll back our footprint, and not so much about how can we make our footprint bigger in a positive way," he said. "But there are many examples of synthetic biology that I think actually have a lot of potential in the environment. Think of how we can help our environment just by doing things like improving the materials we make using synthetic biology."
  • Everything you need to know about toxic algae blooms
    Green pond scum floating on a lake is not just unsightly. As animal lovers have learned the hard way, it can be deadly.
  • Asian carp capable of surviving in much larger areas of Lake Michigan than previously thought
    Asian carp are capable of surviving and growing in much larger portions of Lake Michigan than scientists previously believed and present a high risk of becoming established, according to a new modeling study from University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues.
  • Missing link in algal photosynthesis found, offers opportunity to improve crop yields
    Photosynthesis is the natural process plants and algae utilize to capture sunlight and fix carbon dioxide into energy-rich sugars that fuel growth, development, and in the case of crops, yield. Algae evolved specialized carbon dioxide concentrating mechanisms (CCM) to photosynthesize much more efficiently than plants. This week, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team from Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of York report a long-time unexplained step in the CCM of green algae—which is key to develop a functional CCM in food crops to boost productivity.
  • Research cruise explores carbon cycle in deep ocean in Atlantic
    A University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-led research cruise leaves for the deep Atlantic Ocean 50 miles southeast of Bermuda on Monday for a week of science at sea aboard the 171-foot R/V Atlantic Explorer. Scientists will be sampling the depths of the ocean and analyzing bacterial diversity and function to better understand the marine carbon cycle in the ocean.
  • Could viruses affect climate? New study probes effects on global nutrient cycle
    Nowadays we're getting more used to the idea that entire ecosystems of tiny bacteria are living on our skin, in the soil of our gardens and within the oceans where we catch dinner.
  • Strange bacteria hint at ancient origin of photosynthesis
    Structures inside rare bacteria are similar to those that power photosynthesis in plants today, suggesting the process is older than assumed.
  • Minuscule microbes wield enormous power over the Great Lakes, but many species remain a mystery
    Near the deepest spot in Lake Michigan, the crew aboard the research vessel Blue Heron lowers a device outfitted with a cluster of 8-liter bottles into the dark blue waters until it disappears from sight.
  • How multicellular cyanobacteria transport molecules
    Researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Tübingen have taken a high-resolution look at the structure and function of cell-to-cell connections in filamentous, multicellular cyanobacteria. This enables them to explain how these microorganisms regulate the transport of various substances between the individual cells.
  • Exoplanet evolution: Astronomers expand cosmic 'cheat sheet'
    Cornell astronomers have reached into nature's color palette from early Earth to create a cosmic "cheat sheet" for looking at distant worlds. By correlating tints and hues, researchers aim to understand where discovered exoplanets may reasonably fall along their own evolutionary spectrum.
  • NASA helps warn of harmful algal blooms in lakes, reservoirs
    Harmful algal blooms can cause big problems in coastal areas and lakes across the United States. When toxin-containing aquatic organisms multiply and form a bloom, it can sicken people and pets, contaminate drinking water, and force closures at boating and swimming sites.
  • Scientists throw new light on photosynthetic supercomplex structure
    A team of scientists from Arizona State University has taken a significant step closer to unlocking the secrets of photosynthesis, by determining the structure of a very large photosynthetic supercomplex.
  • Discovery of the photosensor for yellow-green light-driven photosynthesis in cyanobacteria
    Cyanobacteria, a type of bacteria that perform photosynthesis, utilize a photosensor that regulates green and red light-harvesting antenna proteins for photosynthesis. A joint research team from Toyohashi University of Technology, the University of Tokyo, and the National Institute for Physiological Science found a new photosensor that regulates yellow-green light-harvesting antenna protein in cyanobacteria. Further analysis of the cyanobacterial genomes revealed that this photosensor emerged about 2.1 billion years ago or more, and evolved through genetic exchange (horizontal gene transfer) between cyanobacteria.
  • Lake Erie's toxic algae blooms: Why is the water turning green?
    Since the late 1990s, Lake Erie has been plagued with blooms of toxic algae that turn its waters a bright blue-green. These harmful algae blooms are made up of cyanobacteria that produce the liver toxin microcystin.
  • Our first look at a new light-absorbing protein in cyanobacteria
    Cyanobacteria are tiny, hardy organisms. Each cell is 25 times smaller than a human hair, but don't let the size fool you. Their collective ability to do expand photosynthesis is why we have air to breathe and a diverse and complex biosphere.
  • Understanding circadian rhythms in algae and fungi
    Fungi, algae, and cyanobacteria might not complain about jet lag. But like humans, their physiologies adhere to a roughly 24-hour cycle of behavioral patterns in the absence of external cues. Organisms that experience recurring day and night cycles have evolved a biochemical oscillator or circadian clock. This clock determines which activities, from sleep to cellular metabolism, occur at biologically advantageous times.
  • Researchers discover new nitrogen source in Arctic
    Scientists have revealed that the partnership between an alga and bacteria is making the essential element nitrogen newly available in the Arctic Ocean. The microbial process of "nitrogen fixation" converts the element into a form that organisms can use, and was discovered recently in the frigid polar waters. This shift may be a result of climate change and could affect global chemical cycles, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Unusual sugar from cyanobacteria acts as natural herbicide
    Researchers at the University of Tübingen have discovered a natural substance that could compete with the controversial herbicide glyphosate: a newly discovered sugar molecule synthesized from cyanobacteria that inhibits the growth of various microorganisms and plants but is harmless to humans and animals. The joint study was led by Dr. Klaus Brilisauer, Professor Stephanie Grond (Institute of Organic Chemistry) and Professor Karl Forchhammer (Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine). It was published in the journal Nature Communications on Friday.