Study pinpoints nutrient behind fresh water algae blooms

Aug 22, 2012

University of Alberta ecologist David Schindler has reviewed data from studies of controlling human-caused algae blooms in lakes and says controlling the input of the nutrient phosphorus is the key to fighting the problem.

Recent short-term algae studies claim that controlling the human input of both nitrogen and phosphorus into lakes must be reduced to control summer .

In contrast, Schindler concluded that only phosphorus control is necessary after reviewing long-term lake experiments and case histories of lakes where nutrients have been controlled.

Schindler estimates that the cost of controlling just the phosphorus input alone would be as much as 90-per-cent less than trying to control both phosphorus and nitrogen.

Possible sources of phosphorus to lakes are from , agriculture, runoff from lawns, gardens and septic tanks.

Much of Schindler's critical evidence comes from long-term experiments, some lasting 40 years, in the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario. The Federal government recently announced that it would shut the ELA down in March of 2013.

Explore further: Drought damage leads to widespread forest death

More information: Schindler's review of cultural eutrophication was published today by the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B.

Related Stories

Noxious algae gone, but who knows how long

Jan 03, 2007

Recent storms may have washed away algae blooms in a Florida chain of lakes, but experts said algae threats remain because of pollution feeding the lakes.

Urban impacts on phosphorus in streams

Aug 11, 2011

Although phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all life forms, essential amounts of the chemical element can cause water quality problems in rivers, lakes, and coastal zones. High concentrations of phosphorus in aquatic ...

Runoff key to reducing certain toxic aquatic blooms

Oct 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many scientists believe that an unfortunate perfect storm of climate change and nutrient runoff will synergistically increase toxic cyanobacterial blooms globally in coming years.

Global warming harms lakes: study

Jul 16, 2012

Global warming also affects lakes. Based on the example of Lake Zurich, researchers from the University of Zurich demonstrate that there is insufficient water turnover in the lake during the winter and harmful ...

Recommended for you

Drought damage leads to widespread forest death

12 hours ago

The 2000-2003 drought in the American southwest triggered a widespread die-off of forests around the region. A Carnegie-led team of scientists developed a new modeling tool to explain how and where trembling ...

Good luck and the Chinese reverse global forest loss

12 hours ago

Analysis of 20 years of satellite data has revealed the total amount of vegetation globally has increased by almost 4 billion tonnes of carbon since 2003. This is despite ongoing large-scale deforestation ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.