Jennifer L Graham, Ph.D.
Jennifer Graham currently serves as the harmful algal bloom coordinator for the USGS Water Mission Area. She also represents the USGS on the Interagency Working Group on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia. Jennifer began her career with the USGS in 1999 as a Volunteer for Science working on harmful algal blooms at the Columbia Environmental Research Center. She worked there as a volunteer until 2005, when she became a Hydrologist at the Kansas Water Science Center. She is a nationally recognized expert in cyanobacteria and associated toxins and taste-and-odor compounds. For almost two decades Jennifer has conducted research on the environmental factors influencing the occurrence of cyanotoxins in the United States. She has conducted both regional and single system studies at a variety of spatiotemporal scales.
The overarching theme of Jennifer’s research is the spatiotemporal distribution of algae and algal assemblages with respect to changing physical, chemical, and biological conditions in both lentic and lotic ecosystems. Focus areas currently include anthropogenic influences on algal production and community composition, environmental conditions leading to the development of harmful algal blooms, with an emphasis on cyanobacteria, the occurrence, fate, and transport of cyanobacterial toxins and taste-and-odor compounds, and the development of predictive models for the occurrence of cyanobacterial toxins and taste-and-odor compounds. She has a complimentary interest in evaluating and using leading-edge technology, such as continuous water-quality instrumentation and satellite imagery, to improve predictive capabilities for the onset, duration, and decline of harmful algal bloom events. Research efforts include partnerships within the USGS as well as with local, state, and federal agencies and universities.
PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife with a specialization in Limnology (2004) – University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
MS in Biology with a specialization in Aquatic Ecology (1998) – Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
BS in Environmental Science (1995) – Davis and Elkins College, Elkins, WV
Science and Products
Background: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly a global concern because they pose a threat to human and aquatic ecosystem health and cause economic damages. Cyanobacterial HABs (CyanoHABs) represent a substantial threat to drinking-water supplies, aquatic ecosystem health, and safe recreational uses of freshwater resources in New York. Toxins produced by some species of...
Algal blooms frequently occur in our Nation's water resources and can cause economic, ecologic and human health concerns. Natural toxins produced by cyanobacteria and other microorganisms are commonly associated with algal blooms. Yet, the actual health threats posed to the public, pets, livestock, and wildlife by these toxins in water resources used for recreation and drinking water remain...
Understanding the effect of salinity tolerance on cyanobacteria associated with a harmful algal bloom in Lake Okeechobee, Florida
In an effort to simulate the survival of cyanobacteria asthey are transported from Lake Okeechobee to the estuarinehabitats that receive waters from the lake, a bioassayencompassing a range of salinities was performed. An overalldecline in cyanobacteria health in salinity treatments greaterthan 18 practical salinity units (psu) was indicated by...Rosen, Barry H.; Loftin, Keith A.; Graham, Jennifer L.; Stahlhut, Katherine N.; Riley, James M.; Johnston, Brett D.; Senegal, Sarena
Water-quality conditions with an emphasis on cyanobacteria and associated toxins and taste-and-odor compounds in the Kansas River, Kansas, July 2012 through September 2016
Cyanobacteria cause a multitude of water-quality concerns, including the potential to produce toxins and taste-and-odor compounds that may cause substantial economic and public health concerns, and are of particular interest in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers that are used for drinking-water supply. Extensive cyanobacterial blooms typically do not...Graham, Jennifer L.; Foster, Guy M.; Williams, Thomas J.; Mahoney, Matthew D.; May, Madison R.; Loftin, Keith A.
Book review: Handbook of cyanobacterial monitoring and cyanotoxin analysis
Review of Meriluoto, Jussi, Lisa Spoof, and GeoffreyA. Codd [eds.]. 2017. Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Chichester, West Sussex, UK, ISBN 978‐1‐119‐06868‐6 (978‐1‐119‐06876‐1 eBook), DOI 10.1002/9781119068761.Graham, Jennifer L.; Loftin, Keith A.
Occurrence of cyanobacteria, microcystin, and taste-and-odor compounds in Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, 2001-16
Cheney Reservoir, located in south-central Kansas, is one of the primary drinking-water supplies for the city of Wichita and an important recreational resource. Since 1990, cyanobacterial blooms have been present occasionally in Cheney Reservoir, resulting in increased treatment costs and decreased recreational use. Cyanobacteria, the cyanotoxin...Graham, Jennifer L.; Foster, Guy M.; Williams, Thomas J.; Kramer, Ariele R.; Harris, Theodore D.
Predicting cyanobacterial abundance, microcystin, and geosmin in a eutrophic drinking-water reservoir using a 14-year dataset
Cyanobacterial blooms degrade water quality in drinking water supply reservoirs by producing toxic and taste-and-odor causing secondary metabolites, which ultimately cause public health concerns and lead to increased treatment costs for water utilities. There have been numerous attempts to create models that predict cyanobacteria and their...Harris, Ted D.; Graham, Jennifer L.
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms and U.S. Geological Survey science capabilities
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) are increasingly a global concern because CyanoHABs pose a threat to human and aquatic ecosystem health and cause economic damages. Despite advances in scientific understanding of cyanobacteria and associated compounds, many unanswered questions remain about occurrence, environmental triggers for...Graham, Jennifer L.; Dubrovsky, Neil M.; Eberts, Sandra M.
Estimating microcystin levels at recreational sites in western Lake Erie and Ohio
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) and associated toxins, such as microcystin, are a major global water-quality issue. Water-resource managers need tools to quickly predict when and where toxin-producing cyanoHABs will occur. This could be done by using site-specific models that estimate the potential for elevated toxin concentrations...Francy, Donna S.; Brady, Amie M. G.; Ecker, Christopher D.; Graham, Jennifer L.; Stelzer, Erin A.; Struffolino, Pamela; Loftin, Keith A.
Sediment oxygen demand in eastern Kansas streams, 2014 and 2015
Dissolved oxygen concentrations in streams are affected by physical, chemical, and biological factors in the water column and streambed, and are an important factor for the survival of aquatic organisms. Sediment oxygen demand (SOD) rates in Kansas streams are not well understood. During 2014 and 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation...Foster, Guy M.; King, Lindsey R.; Graham, Jennifer L.
Elucidation of taste- and odor-producing bacteria and toxigenic cyanobacteria in a Midwestern drinking water supply reservoir by shotgun metagenomics analysis
While commonplace in clinical settings, DNA-based assays for identification or enumeration of drinking water pathogens and other biological contaminants remain widely unadopted by the monitoring community. In this study, shotgun metagenomics was used to identify taste-and-odor producers and toxin-producing cyanobacteria over a 2-year period in a...Otten, Timothy; Graham, Jennifer L.; Harris, Theodore D.; Dreher, Theo
Cyanotoxins in inland lakes of the United States: Occurrence and potential recreational health risks in the EPA National Lakes Assessment 2007
A large nation-wide survey of cyanotoxins (1161 lakes) in the United States (U.S.) was conducted during the EPA National Lakes Assessment 2007. Cyanotoxin data were compared with cyanobacteria abundance- and chlorophyll-based World Health Organization (WHO) thresholds and mouse toxicity data to evaluate potential recreational risks....Loftin, Keith A.; Graham, Jennifer L.; Elizabeth Hilborn; Sarah Lehmann; Meyer, Michael T.; Dietze, Julie E.; Griffith, Christopher
Challenges for mapping cyanotoxin patterns from remote sensing of cyanobacteria
Using satellite imagery to quantify the spatial patterns of cyanobacterial toxins has several challenges. These challenges include the need for surrogate pigments – since cyanotoxins cannot be directly detected by remote sensing, the variability in the relationship between the pigments and cyanotoxins – especially microcystins (MC),...Stumpf, Rick P; Davis, Timothy W.; Wynne, Timothy T.; Graham, Jennifer L.; Loftin, Keith A.; Johengen, T.H.; Gossiaux, D.; Palladino, D.; Burtner, A.
Seasonal patterns in carbon dioxide in 15 mid-continent (USA) reservoirs
Evidence suggests that lakes are important sites for atmospheric CO2 exchange and so play a substantial role in the global carbon budget. Previous research has 2 weaknesses: (1) most data have been collected only during the open-water or summer seasons, and (2) data are concentrated principally on natural lakes in northern latitudes. Here, we...Jones, John R.; Obrecht, Daniel V.; Graham, Jennifer L.; Balmer, Michelle B.; Filstrup, Christopher T.; Downing, John A.