Algae are an important component of a healthy ecosystem. In the Bay of Quinte, the issue has always been the amount of excess algae produced by excess phosphorus.
How does algae fit into the aquatic food web? Algae are a large group of diverse organisms that use photosynthesis to produce food and are at the base of the food web.
The organisms in the food web are classified by whether they are primary producers (such as plants on land or algae in water) or consumers (who receive energy by consuming other organisms). The consumers in food webs cannot make their own food, so they are dependent on the primary producers for survival.
Algae Fact Sheet
Blue-green algae are primitive microscopic plants that have inhabited the earth for over 2 billion years. The first recognized species were blue-green in colour, hence their scientific name cyanobacteria.
Cyanobacteria act like algae in that they photosynthesize and utilize light and nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, for growth; however, they are bacteria. High nutrient levels, warm water temperatures and high light levels — or a combination of all three factors — may stimulate the rapid reproduction of cyanobacteria forming a large mass called an algae bloom.
It is prudent to be cautious about blue-green algae blooms. Although many varieties of cyanobacteria are relatively harmless, blooms of cyanobacteria may contain algae species with the potential to produce toxins which may be harmful to human health and the health of animals.
To report Blue-Green Algae in the Bay of Quinte call the Ministry of the Environment at (613) 962 - 9208 during business hours or(800) 268 - 6060 after hours
For more information on blue-green algae:
Fact sheet on Blue-Green Algae
Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit
Bay of Quinte Algae Watch Program
Since 2010, Quinte Conservation has been working with Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, the federal government, provincial government, local agencies and municipalities collecting water quality data in order to learn more about when, where and why blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom and produce toxins.
To find out more about this important monitoring program download the Algae Watch fact sheet