Many of the preeminent problems associated with algal blooms in Florida's freshwater and estuarine environments involve cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Given Florida's subtropical climate and the nature of many of its lakes, rivers, and estuaries, it is not surprising that cyanobacteria are a major feature of aquatic ecosystems. Although there is little doubt that the phenomenon of cyanobacterial blooms predates human development in Florida, the recent boom in human population (~1,000 people/day; Smith, 1996) and land use has recently increased the frequency, duration, and intensity of these blooms and precipitated grave concerns over their possible harmful effects..
Many of Florida's largest and most important lakes, rivers, and estuaries have had massive cyanobacteria blooms over the past several decades, including Lake Okeechobee (Havens et al., 1996), Lake Apopka, and the St. Johns River estuary (Burns et al., 1997). In addition, phytoplankton composition in many of Florida's aquatic systems has undergone rapid ecological changes that include replacing dominant types of phytoplankton taxa with potentially toxic cyanobacteria (Chapman and Schelske, 1997).
A review of the current state of Cyanobacterial science can be found in Proceedings of Health Effects of Exposure to Cyanobacteria Toxins: State of the Science- August 13-14, 2002
Smith, S. K. 1996. Projections of Florida population by county,
1995-2020. Florida population studies 29: Bulletin No. 114.
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