Blue Waters, Green Bottoms: Benthic Filamentous Algal Blooms Are an Emerging Threat to Clear Lakes Worldwide

Yvonne Vadeboncoeur, Marianne V. Moore, Simon D. Stewart, Sudeep Chandra, Karen S. Atkins, Jill S. Baron, Keith Bouma-Gregson, Soren Brothers, Steven N. Francoeur, Laurel Genzoli, Scott N. Higgins, Sabine Hilt, Leon R. Katona, David Kelly, Isabella A. Oleksy, Ted Ozersky, Mary E. Power, Derek Roberts, Adrianne P. Smits, Oleg TimoshkinFlavia Tromboni, M. Jake Vander Zanden, Ekaterina A. Volkova, Sean Waters, Susanna A. Wood, Masumi Yamamuro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Nearshore (littoral) habitats of clear lakes with high water quality are increasingly experiencing unexplained proliferations of filamentous algae that grow on submerged surfaces. These filamentous algal blooms (FABs) are sometimes associated with nutrient pollution in groundwater, but complex changes in climate, nutrient transport, lake hydrodynamics, and food web structure may also facilitate this emerging threat to clear lakes. A coordinated effort among members of the public, managers, and scientists is needed to document the occurrence of FABs, to standardize methods for measuring their severity, to adapt existing data collection networks to include nearshore habitats, and to mitigate and reverse this profound structural change in lake ecosystems. Current models of lake eutrophication do not explain this littoral greening. However, a cohesive response to it is essential for protecting some of the world's most valued lakes and the flora, fauna, and ecosystem services they sustain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1027
Number of pages17
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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