Lee County Natural Resources monitors blue-green algae bloom growth

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blue green algae

The blue-green algae bloom that appears to be growing is getting interest from the state level.

Lee County Natural Resources staff said they are continuing to monitor the canal in North Fort Myers where algae is present.

Trinity Allen, a Master’s student at FGCU said, “Oh gosh. Okay yeah, that’s pretty thick. Oh yeah, I can smell it.

Allen knows her algae, she was out at Lakeview Boulevard to collect samples of this growing mess in the Little Lake Michigan Canal.

“This is what we were expecting earlier in the season but it just came late and all at one time,” Allen said.

Barry Rosen, a Water School Professor at FGCU looked at the algae under a microscope.

“So, this is the organism that’s out there blooming right now. It sees compact coils of cells. And that is this specific cell that grabs the nitrogen from the air,” Rosen said.

Rosen tested the samples and two of the five tests for toxicity came back and saxitoxin was not present. Three of the test have yet to be analyzed.

“It’s most potent of all the cyanotoxins. It’s what makes paralytic shellfish poisoning,” Rosen said.

Microcystis was not present in the test either.

“Microcystis is what we’ve seen in past blooms. That’s a little round colonial form. With a lot of mucilage it cannot fix its own nitrogen it needs a lot of nitrogen from the land,” Rosen said.

Still, this blue-green bloom is garnering a lot of attention.

The Department of Environmental Protection took samples. The test results aren’t back yet, but WINK News will let you know when they are in.

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