More study needed to deal with algal blooms; what we don’t know CAN hurt us

Article Posted on May 4, 2018

By: Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News

OKEECHOBEE — Nearly years after the ‘guacamole’ algae bloom that blanketed the Treasure Coast in the summer of 2016, there are plenty of theories, but we don’t “know” the cause.

The prevailing theory was that algae in the freshwater released from Lake Okeechobee through the C-44 canal seeded the bloom, which grew to thick mats when it was fed by the nutrient-rich local basin runoff.

That’s the theory — but we don’t know, and can’t know for sure that the algae came from the lake, because the algae was not examined on the microscopic level at the time, according to UF algae expert Dr. H. Dail Laughinghouse IV. It was not examined in 2016, and it’s too late to examine it now. Without that data, we can’t be sure where the algae and/or cyanobacteria that made up the ‘guacamole’ algal bloom originated…

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