Harmful Algal Blooms: A Spatiotemporal Examination of the Landscape and Climatic Drivers in Iowa

Authors: Aaron Padilla*, University of Northern Iowa
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Harmful Algal Blooms, Water Quality, Eutrophication
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Oak Alley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Water quality is an important part of insuring the safety of our water for consumption and recreation. One of the ways our water is at risk is through the increased frequency, and intensity of harmful algal blooms (HABs). When HABs occur, they can produce a toxic byproduct, Microcystin, which can be harmful to humans and animals. These blooms are driven by increased eutrophication of water bodies. In Iowa, the main driver in most watersheds is agricultural runoff, which carries increased nutrient loads from fertilizer and animal waste. HABs can be further enhanced by a range of climatic conditions (e.g. air temperature and precipitation) One unanswered question is the how and when do blooms to occur based on the different land use and climatic factors. This research uses PRISM climate data, land use/cover data from the USDA, and water quality data from the Iowa State Department of Natural Resources to preform spatiotemporal regressions to determine the land use/climate connection to HABs and determine if a predictive spatial model can be developed to predict future HABs.

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