Cyanobacteria of the 2016 Lake Okeechobee and Okeechobee Waterway harmful algal bloom

Open-File Report 2017-1054
By: , and 



The Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway (Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie Canal and River, and the Caloosahatchee River) experienced an extensive harmful algal bloom within Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie Canal and River and the Caloosahatchee River in 2016. In addition to the very visible bloom of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa, several other cyanobacteria were present. These other species were less conspicuous; however, they have the potential to produce a variety of cyanotoxins, including anatoxins, cylindrospermopsins, and saxitoxins, in addition to the microcystins commonly associated with Microcystis. Some of these species were found before, during, and 2 weeks after the large Microcystis bloom and could provide a better understanding of bloom dynamics and succession. This report provides photographic documentation and taxonomic assessment of the cyanobacteria present from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie Canal, with samples collected June 1st from the Caloosahatchee River and Lake Okeechobee and in July from the St. Lucie Canal. The majority of the images were of live organisms, allowing their natural complement of pigmentation to be captured. The report provides a digital image-based taxonomic record of the Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway microscopic flora. It is anticipated that these images will facilitate current and future studies on this system, such as understanding the timing of cyanobacteria blooms and their potential toxin production.

Suggested Citation

Rosen, B.H., Davis, T.W., Gobler, C.J., Kramer, B.J., and Loftin, K.A. , 2017, Cyanobacteria of the 2016 Lake Okeechobee Waterway harmful algal bloom: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1054, 34 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Organisms
  • References

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Cyanobacteria of the 2016 Lake Okeechobee and Okeechobee Waterway harmful algal bloom
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2017-1054
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171054
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Southwest Regional Director's Office
Description vi, 33 p.
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Lake Okeechobee
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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