Clean Waters and SAV: Making the Connection

Dr. Hans Paerl and Dr. Nathan Hall discussed the Status of NC’s estuarine water quality yesterday at the Clean Waters and SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation) workshop. Their presentations focused on existing and developing water quality management strategies, past and present estuarine water quality challenges, and water quality monitoring and assessment. Their participation in this workshop helped provide input for the NC Coastal Habitat Protection Plan revision to develop collaborative management strategies to preserve and improve water quality suitable for SAV growth in NC coastal waters. Click the links below to view their presentations.

Paerl SAV Conference presentation

ModMon Neuse River Estuary Conditions

Hi all,
That line of strong storms with torrential rains on Feb 6 and 7th has increased Neuse River flows to about five times their average for this time of year. The turbid (>20 NTU) flood waters are clearly evident upstream of New Bern (stations 0-30).  Downstream of New Bern, the estuary was highly stratified. Waters are quite warm for this time of year and bottom water DO was well below saturation from station 50 to 100. A near surface zone of elevated chl-a (~30 ug/L) occurred at station 160.
Best regards,

UK DOM Symposium – “Hurricane Talk”

Dr. Hans Paerl recently presented at the “Theo Murphy international scientific meeting” for dissolved organic matter in freshwaters to talk about The “new normal” of catastrophic tropical cyclone flooding in Coastal North Carolina (USA): Implications for organic matter and nutrient cycling. To view the full presentation click here


PhD students Haley Plaas and Malcom Barnard are assisting with SciREN-Coast this year. SciREN-Coast is a community of educators and researchers based in eastern North Carolina who share resources to promote science literacy in today’s youth. Haley is a member of the logistics team and Malcom is a member of the education team. To learn more about SciREN-Coast and their upcoming events click here. 

Are Toxic Cyanobacterial Blooms Affecting the Air We Breathe?

PhD student Haley Plaas recently gave a talk at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences about how air quality might be impacted by cyanobacteria toxin production. You can watch her presentation here.

Methane Producing Blue-Green Algae

Dr. Hans Paerl was quoted in an article for The Scientist about blue-green algae and methane. Click  here to read the full article.

Blue-Green Algae Produce Methane       A colony of cyanobacteria from Lake Stechlin taken by Prof Hans-Peter Grossart

New Decade, Neuse Blooms

Happy New Year.
The Neuse has kicked off the new decade with an impressive bloom of Prorocentrum minimum. We saw the beginnings of this bloom a month ago in December but it’s a lot more dense now. The surface water at station 100 was actually scummy (see attached photo taken by Melissa LaCroce) and the YSI measured 200 ug/L chl-a at 0.3 m depth. The bloom extended throughout the water column at station 100. Upstream to station 50, the bloom was concentrated just below the surface, and downstream at station 120 the bloom was concentrated along the pycnocline. Subsurface aggregations are really common for Prorocentrum minimum, but in my experience such dense surface scums are less common. However, there is a nice photo from an airplane of a Neuse River P. minimum bloom in Springer et al. (Harmful Algae 2005). P. minimum is not know to be toxic, and despite the high biomass levels there aren’t reports of problems associated with these blooms (e.g. hypoxia, fish kills, etc.). While we await further laboratory measurements, I think it’s safe to assume that such high biomass levels are at least partly the result of physical concentration of highly motile cells along a frontal zone.  Other than the bloom, the river is about 4-6 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. The river is also quite salty with salinity near 20 at throughout the water column at the lower stations.
Best regards,

“Alegae”, the Beverage of Choice for the Lake Erie Project

Dr. Hans Paerl was gifted the new beverage of choice for the Lake Erie Project. “Creature from the Alegae Bloom” is brewed by Maumee Bay Brewing Company

Hans Talks About HABs

Dr. Hans Paerl spoke with EOS about a new harmful algal bloom study showing that HABs are getting worse with climate change. Click the photo below to read the article or here for the pdf.

2009 HAB on Lake Erie

Photo Credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Hans Awarded in China

Dr. Hans Paerl received the International Cooperation Award from the governor of the Jaingsu Province for his work teaching at Hohai University and for the research done on Lake Taihu and other Chinese lake projects. The pictures below  include Dr. Paerl and his colleagues Guangwei Zhu and XuHai (left to right) from the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing. Also see Dr. Paerl with the African exchange students at Hohai University, where he was teaching an aquatic ecology course last May.

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