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How to Read the Data
Field monitoring for HABs occurs on a weekly basis in Lake Erie during HAB season (July – October). The sampling date indicates the most recent monitoring date.
Weekly samples are taken at two different depths at each monitoring station: a surface sample (0.75 m from surface), and a bottom sample (1 m from bottom). The total depth at each station is listed in parentheses in the location search bar.
Temperature: Temperature of water sample in degrees Celsius
Turbidity: a measurement of how easily light passes through water. The cloudier the water, the greater the turbidity. Turbidity can be caused by algae, sediments, or solid wastes.
Extracted chlorophyll a: chlorophyll is a pigment that allows algae (and all plants) to convert sunlight to energy via photosynthesis. The amount of chlorophyll in the water is used as an indicator for the total amount of algae present. Samples are taken back to the lab and the pigments are extracted from the algal cells for measurement.
Extracted phycocyanin: phycocyanin is a pigment found in cyanobacteria, the group of organisms responsible for toxin-producing HABs. Levels of phycocyanin that are higher than chlorophyll a indicate heavy populations of cyanobacteria. Samples are taken back to the lab and the pigments are extracted from the algal cells for measurement.
Particulate microcystin: a measurement of the amount of toxins found within cells of Microcystis, the predominant cyanobacteria found in Lake Erie
Dissolved microcystin: a measurement of the amount of toxins that have been released from cells of Microcystis and dissolved in the water
Each point on the graphs below represents a water sample. When hovering your cursor over a data point, the sample date and precise data measurement can be found in blue text at the bottom of each graph. Red half circles indicate that microcystin or phycocyanin measurements were for that sample were below detectable levels (<0.1ug/L for microcystin)
This data is produced by the Western Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring program, a joint effort by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL) and CIGLR with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Monitoring data is provided “as is” and have not yet been subjected to quality control or quality assurance procedures. For data with QAQC, please refer to annual seasonal reports. We work hard to post data from each week’s monitoring soon after collection, but there may be delays.
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