Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Science in Texas

Science Center Objects

Many types of algae can cause HABs in freshwater ecosystems. The most frequent and severe blooms typically are caused by cyanobacteria, the only freshwater “algae” with the potential for production of toxins that can adversely affect human health. USGS Texas Water Science Center (TXWSC) scientists studying HAB issues in water bodies throughout the United States, using a combination of traditional methods and emerging technologies. Visit the links below for more information on our data and science.

Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHAB) pose a threat to human and aquatic ecosystem health and cause economic damage. Despite advances in scientific understanding of cyanobacteria and associated compounds, many unanswered questions remain about occurrence, environmental triggers for toxicity, and the ability to predict the timing, duration, and toxicity of CyanoHABs. By providing practical applications of cutting edge CyanoHAB research, USGS studies have advanced scientific understanding, enabling the development of approaches to help protect ecological and human health.



TXWSC has expertise in a wide variety of harmful algal bloom science applications, including, but not limited to: 

  • Evaluating the distribution and abundance of bloom-forming algae
  • Tracking algal blooms to estimate their persistence and spatial extent
  • Evaluating correlations between water quality and harmful algal blooms
  • Monitoring real-time, in-lake chlorophyllfluorescence using an in vivo fluorescence sensor to track algal bloom formation
  • Documenting algal bloom characteristics using results from phytoplankton analysis to estimate algal biomass estimates and algal species composition


Find out more about TXWSC water-quality science expertise in this printable information sheet.



Cyanobacteria Methods

Algal bloom in lake

Algal bloom in lake (Public domain.)