Warm temperatures bring cyanobacteria blooms to Sarasota Bay
Cyanobacteria FAQs from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program:
It’s hard not to notice some strange stuff surfacing in many areas around our bays this summer. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s
Algae Bloom Monitoring and Response team identified Lyngbya majuscula, a type of cyanobacterium, in many bays between Anna Maria Island and Venice in May and June. Many of those blooms are still visible as they decompose. Another species of cyanobacteria, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, was detected in the freshwater reaches of the Manatee River in early July. FDEP is working to identify other samples taken around the region. ( Click here to see sampling locations and results in an interactive map.)
What is Lyngbya majuscula?
Lyngbya majuscula is a type of cyanobacterium, meaning that it is part of a group of bacteria that obtain energy through photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria are commonly known as “blue-green algae.” While some cyanobacteria cause harmful algae blooms (HABs), most are beneficial. Their ranks include Prochlorococcus, a genus of tiny marine cyanobacteria that are some of the most important oxygen-producers on Earth.
Lyngbya species are found in coastal tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. L. majuscula is only one of several species of Lyngbya found in central and southern Florida waters.
How do Lyngbya mats form?
Lyngbya blooms have been tied to water temperature increases and to pulses of nutrient sources including nitrogen, iron, and phosphorus. Lyngbya majuscula blooms form in sedi