Blue-green algae identified in Caloosahatchee

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Joey Pellegrino
A sample of water from the Caloosahatchee River on September, 1, 2020. Credit: WINK News

Some people are worried about the specks seen floating in the Caloosahatchee River in North Fort Myers.

After bottling a sample of the water and its mysterious detritus, we sent it to Barry Rosen, PhD, professor in FGCU’s Department of Ecology & Environmental Studies.

Under microscopic investigation, Rosen found the sample contained small amounts of lyngbya, a type of blue-green algae that floats up from the river’s bottom sediment.

Doug Akins of North Fort Myers brought this to our attention because, after dealing with blue-green algae in 2018, he doesn’t want to see it again.

“June, the water has just gone from clear to dark, like right now, if you look down there you can’t see the bottom,” Akins said. “The end of May, the first part of June, you can see the bottom.”

While the type of cyanobacteria Rosen found is capable of producing toxins, there was no way to determine if it did or not from his initial observation.

If it did, Rosen said, it would be low-density because of how little was present in our sample.

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