Study finds link between toxic algae and Salmon Behavior

In the Western United States, many of our lake and river systems are experiencing eutrophication.  As lakes age and nutrients accumulate, lakes often see a species shift in the aquatic plant communities.  Early on, aquatic plants will utilize the nutrients present in the lake sediments and thrive with the addition of nutrients in the water column.  As these plants expand until limited by space and depth, the addition of more nutrients leads to an excess that is then utilized by algae in the water column.  Keep adding nutrients and algae populations explode to the point that they shade out aquatic plant life and dominate the system.  In the later stages of this process, Blue Green Algae or Cyanobacteria dominate.  These species produce a wide range of toxins that have been shown to be a threat to human health both in the short and long term. Short term exposure has resulted in acute sickness and now there have been deaths attributed to ingesting lake water with these toxins present.  Studies have also shown that compounds that are directly linked to ALS diseases are produced by these algae species.

One other thing that many lake and river systems on the west coast have in common is that they play an important role in the life cycle of Pacific Salmon.  Most river and creek systems on our coast support salmon runs.  Salmon use the lakes in these water courses as resting spots as they migrate upstream to spawn.  The young salmon use these lakes to rest and feed prior to going to sea.  If toxic algae have the effects we see on humans that are briefly exposed to these toxins, what is happening to these fish that live in that environment for some period of time.

A recent study is starting to put a light on this subject. is a link to an article that discusses the role toxic algae might be playing.  One more reason to reduce phosphorus pollution in lake systems.

Phoslock can play a key role in this process.  See and get in touch with us if you have questions.


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