Due to the recent impact of harmful algal blooms to southeast Michigan communities, many residents have questions about algae and why it may or may not be harmful.

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Steve Stewart, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant and Sonia Joseph Joshi, NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health, Michigan Sea Grant

In any healthy water body, there are dozens of micro- and macro-organisms.  Algae are a natural part of an aquatic ecosystem.  Throughout the course of a year, the growth of algae and other phytoplankton go through species succession. For example, from January through April, diatoms are usually the dominant phytoplankton in the water and reach their peak dominance in late April through early May. Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, usually dominate the system from July to September, with peak growth in mid-August.

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