Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

Top 6 FlowCam Studies on Cyanobacteria

Our ability to predict and prevent harmful algal blooms is directly related to our ability to study and understand cyanobacteria.  Numerous studies have used the FlowCam to rapidly enumerate, image, and aid in the identification of harmful algae present in water samples to better track, trend and predict blooms. We've collected our favorite studies on cyanobacteria into one document that features synopses of the following papers:

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Topics: Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Aquatic Research

FlowCam Part of Integrated Approach to Eliminate Taste and Odor Events in Wichita Falls, TX

March 2019 — Harmful algal bloom (HAB) season is fast approaching. The City of Wichita Falls, Texas, however, has developed an integrated approach to monitor HABs that has prevented taste and odor events for the past two years.  Featured in the December 2018 issue of OpFlow, and now in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Texas H2O, the City of Wichita Falls shares its integrated approach to answer the following questions: 

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Topics: Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight

FlowCam Assists Harmful Algal Bloom Mitigation in Salmon Aquaculture

In 2016, 23 million salmon died from a harmful algal bloom (HAB) at a farm in Chile.  The economic cost of  that die-off is estimated to have been $800 million.  The impact of such mortality events is serious.  Grieg Seafood is employing cutting-edge technology to expand monitoring, stay ahead of HABs, and keep their fish stocks healthy.

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Topics: Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquaculture

Congress Asks for Robust Funding in 2020 to Support Harmful Algae Research

In December 2018, U.S. Congress submitted a letter signed by 61 Congressional Members to the Office of Management and Budget to lobby for increased funding to support harmful algal bloom (HAB) research in 2020.

HAB events are widespread and their effects are diverse. Coordinated studies released in 2017 by the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that 39% of all lakes nationwide contained toxic algae, and cyanobacteria-produced toxins were present in 78% of those lakes at some point during the year. Additionally, 40% more HAB events were reported in 2018 than in 2017. 

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Topics: Marine Research, Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research

Most Popular Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog Posts of 2018

We use our Flow Imaging Microscopy blog as a platform to serve up the latest in relevant news, highlight novel uses of the FlowCam, and announce FlowCam technology developments. This year we blogged about 54 different topics. Below is a recap of the Top 10 Most Read Blog Posts of 2018. 

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Topics: Protein Therapeutics, Marine Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, FlowCam Technology, Aquatic Research, Biopharmaceutical Research

A Blueprint to Monitor Toxin-Producing Cyanobacteria With the FlowCam

Ensure Safe Drinking Water

Climate conditions are conducive to both harmful algae blooms (HABs) as well as taste and odor events in drinking water with increasing frequency and intensity. As a result, EPA regulations are moving toward requiring cyanobacteria monitoring. Proactive drinking water agencies are seeking a streamlined approach to monitor cyanobacteria and nuisance algae. Unfortunately, there is no single method that answers all the fundamental questions needed to make treatment decisions and ensure a safe water supply:

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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

Climate Change and the Gulf of Maine as Discussed by President of Bigelow Lab

November 6, 2018, Brunswick, Maine—

At the close of Election Day, Dr. Deborah Bronk presented on the effects of climate change on the Gulf of Maine at Frontier Cafe and Restaurant in Brunswick, Maine.

Dr. Bronk, a PhD from the University of Maryland, most recently held tenure as a Professor at the College of William and Mary where she conducted research on how phytoplankton and other aquatic microbes process nitrogen. In February 2018, she became the President and CEO of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. 

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Topics: Marine Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research

New Method for Cell Counting Microcystis Colonies Using Image Processing Method

October 2018 — Environmental Engineering Research published a paper presenting a new method for cell counting Microcystis colonies using the FlowCam.  Researchers from Korea Water Resources Corporation, University of Central Florida, and Kyungbook National University developed a three-dimensional image processing method using an algorithm to count colonial Microcystis cells.    

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, FlowCam Technology, User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

Study by University of Alberta finds the FlowCam is a reliable and faster alternative to manual microscopy for cyanobacterial bloom monitoring

Scientists at the University of Alberta, Alberta Health, and University of Calgary compared the efficacy of using the FlowCam to traditional light microscopy for rapid cyanobacteria quantification and high resolution taxonomic data. Traditional light microscopy, while it provides the highest level of detail and is the ideal method for taxonomic identification, is time-consuming. The rate of quantifying and reporting cyanobacterial abundance must match the rate of cyanobacterial production in order to assess the present risk to human and ecological health. 

Anabaena, a common culprit of cyanobacterial blooms, as imaged by the FlowCam at 10X. 

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

$30 Million in New Grant Funding Awarded to Study Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs)

Devastating Red Tide Impacts Coastal Communities of Western Florida

Karenia brevis bloom as imaged by FlowCam. Sample was collected off Sanibel Island in August 2018 by Eric Milbrandt, Director of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, and sent to Fluid Imaging Technologies for analysis. 

This past summer a red tide spread along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline killing millions of fish and threatening human health (not to mention impacting regional tourism).  Harmful algae blooms (HABs) like this occur with regularity nationwide and cost an estimated $50 million each year.

Florida is a Case Study for the Need to Improve HAB Funding

Beyond the problems along the Gulf Coast, southeastern Florida is experiencing a blue-green, cyanobacteria bloom in the St. Lucie River. Recent testing shows that water samples are 10 times too toxic to even touch due to high levels of microcystin, a toxin that can make people and animals sick. Direct contact with the algae can cause a rash.  When ingested, the toxin can cause nausea, vomiting, and in some sever cases, acute liver failure.

To study the effects of HABs and other ocean and Great Lakes pathogens, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health, have awarded new grants totaling $30 million. The grants fund research on ecosystems in the oceans and in the Great Lakes Basin. 

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Topics: News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research