Honors Projects


Global lakes are experiencing an increase in toxic algal blooms that can be damaging to the environment. These blooms are caused by cyanobacteria, specifically a species called Planktothrix. Skinn Lake, in Ohio, is a location of a cyanobacterial bloom that is mainly populated by Planktothrix rubescens. This lake was further examined to identify the major toxin-producing bacteria and identify environmental microbes surrounding the bloom. When the data was examined it was found that the microbiomes of the lake greatly differed between the winter (bloom) months and the summer (non-bloom) months. This difference can be viewed within the nutrient analysis from the samples taken throughout the year. The levels of certain nutrients were shown to change based on the presence of the bloom. These changes can also be seen through the relative abundance of bacterial orders by 16S rRNA gene sequencing of lake samples. Each sample shows a different population of bacterial orders based on the bloom period. Lastly, the effect that the bloom had on the environment can be seen in the lake's diversity. It was found that when the bloom is present, the diversity is reduced. Overall, this study showed that the contents of the algae bloom have been shown to affect the surrounding environment. The consequences that a Planktothrix bloom can have on a community are potentially very serious, which is why it is necessary to create a better understanding of these blooms in order to better control and treat the causes


Honors Program



First Advisor

Dr. George Bullerjahn

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. Siobhan Shay

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Spring 4-22-2022