Shellfish Monitor from Maine
The overall goal of MERHAB-LGL is to develop a unified tier-based monitoring system for toxic cyanobacteria in the lower Great Lakes region (LGL). The large size of these lakes and the sudden changes in weather necessitate a different sampling strategy than is used with smaller ponds and reservoirs. It is envisioned that this sampling program would be a tier-based system that would utilize a series of indicators or alerts, in which a positive response in one or more of these indicators would trigger a next or higher level of monitoring. This type of approach is not new to the HAB community. Monitoring for PSP toxins along the coast of Maine uses several indicator sites. Detection of either toxic algae, in this case Alexandrium species, or PSP toxin in shellfish collected from these sites, triggers more extensive shellfish collection and monitoring. Our goal is to develop a similar staged response for cyanobacteria toxins in the lower Great Lakes region.
MERHAB-LGL is organized into three major ecosystems each with their own major focus. This includes a Lake Erie working group, a Lake Ontario working group, and a Lake Champlain working group. In support of these three regional working groups, there are dedicated services in support of chemical analysis, remote sensing, hydrodynamic modeling, and public outreach. The specific objectives of each of the working groups can be found under the project objectives.