Collaborative announces Cyano MV – The Martha’s Vineyard Times

The Great Pond Foundation (GPF) has officially announced the creation of MV Cyano, a one-of-a-kind cyanobacteria monitoring program on Martha’s Vineyard.

The pilot program is a collaboration between GPF scientists and local health boards who are actively monitoring cyanobacteria in the large ponds of Chilmark, Tisbury and Edgartown.

Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are a group of photosynthetic microorganisms that have existed since Earth’s earliest days and are found in all waters of the vineyard, according to GPF executive director Emily Reddington. They help generate oxygen in the atmosphere and are one of the most diverse and abundant organisms on the planet. Most cyanobacteria cause no harm, but a few can grow rapidly or flower and produce cyanotoxins which, when concentrated, can adversely affect the health of humans, pets, or wading livestock. or ingest flowering waters.

The ponds in the vineyard contain brackish water, which is when fresh water and salt water mix. Salt water from the ocean can enter ponds, increasing salinity levels and reducing the likelihood of an overgrowth.

Cyanobacteria are traditionally thought to be entrained by phosphorus, but some are affected by other nutrients, such as nitrogen.

A Chilmark man experienced ‘worrying symptoms after being poisoned by cyanobacteria in Chilmark Pond last August while fishing for crab.

As of this spring, GPF has been monitoring cyanobacteria through a tiered approach based on the work of Dr Christopher Gobler, chair of coastal ecology and conservation at Stony Brook University. The process uses fluorometric analysis, putting light through a cuvette to collect data on the abundance and type of phytoplankton in samples from large ponds.

The data is entered into a spreadsheet and the summarized information is fed back to local boards of health to help them make informed decisions about pond notices and closures based on Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts standards. Environmental Protection and the World Health Organization.

To make the information easily accessible to the public, Cyano MV has created a color-coded graphic to indicate the level of risk for cyanobacteria overgrowth. Green means proliferation is not present, yellow means cyanobacteria alert, orange means cyanobacteria proliferation monitoring, and red means cyanobacteria proliferation alert. Reviews range from green, which allows for swimming, boating, fishing and shellfish consumption, to red, which advises against these recreational activities.

“This is a proactive system rather than a reactive system,” Reddington told The Times.

Up-to-date test maps are available on the site MV Cyano page of the GPF website.

Data collected during the first three weeks of June shows that blooms are not present in any of the ponds on the island. Chilmark Great Pond is the only pond with a yellow designation for parts of the pond, which means it is the season for cyanobacteria blooms, but swimming, boating, paddling, fishing and drinking shellfish are allowed, and caution is suggested. for humans, pets and livestock when ingesting water.

Health boards will place signage on the ponds and the maps will be updated online.

The GPF team is made up of Reddington, Science Program Manager Julie Pringle, Watershed Outreach Manager David Bouck, Summer Science Interns Maggie Sandusky and Kendal Rudolph, and Cyano / Public Health Intern Becca Eyrick.

Being able to test samples directly on the island, rather than having to send them off the island, has been a boon to the program.

“Every week I have a new spreadsheet with new data,” Pringle said. “This is in a format where we can send it to [Bouck] where he can create these color-coded maps, and it will be really useful if there is a localized overgrowth in a particular part of a pond, which tends to happen because cyanobacteria are floating around and can be washed away by the wind.

The group takes note of areas where blooms have occurred in the past, such as Doctor’s Creek at Chilmark Pond, which has seen a bloom for the past three years, and other places, such as creek heads.

“Cooler, stagnant, warmer, shallower places and places where we know the nutrient sources are coming in,” Reddington said. In October, the program will have a full season of data and will be able to observe how cyanobacteria move in ponds.

“This is what is new in this program, little is known about cyanobacteria in brackish ecosystems,” said Pringle. “Most of the research done in the past has been done in freshwater lakes and ponds.”

An introduction to Cyano MV will take place on Saturday June 26 at 4 p.m. via Zoom. For more information and to register for the meeting, send an email [email protected].

Source link

Comments are closed.