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A Guide to Cyanobacteria: Identification and Impact

by Mark A. Nienaber and Miriam Steinitz-Kannan

Availablepaperback$20.00s 978-0-8131-7559-1
186 pages  Pubdate: 06/29/2018  6 x 9  132 color photographs, 1 table

Blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) and the toxins they can produce pose serious economic, environmental, and public health problems worldwide. Much of the scientific and public interest in these microorganisms arises from their tendency to undergo explosive population growth and form harmful blooms, which have inflicted damage in industries as diverse as health care, public utilities, agriculture, recreation, real estate, and commercial and sport fishing. Until now, water quality professionals and other individuals tasked with finding and eliminating cyanotoxins have lacked an accessible guide to these potentially deadly microorganisms.

Written for nonspecialists in a clear and straightforward style, this guide will help students, landowners, and citizen scientists identify different kinds of cyanobacteria and understand their impact on waterways, from neighborhood lakes and farm ponds to major river systems. The central feature of the book is a detailed key that systematically walks the reader through each step of the identification process. This key is linked to an extensive set of photographs and a companion smartphone app to assist readers in confirming their findings.

Authors Mark A. Nienaber and Miriam Steinitz-Kannan include an ample glossary to help newcomers to the subject get up to speed as well as an in-depth and current bibliography to aid advanced readers in further research. They also offer instructions on how to correctly collect and analyze cyanobacteria. Altogether, this accessible yet comprehensive resource makes important, complex material available to a wide range of professionals and laypeople engaged in combating harmful cyanotoxins.

Mark A. Nienaber is the sole proprietor of Algae Services and has more than forty years of experience in algae and vascular plant identification.

Miriam Steinitz-Kannan is Regents Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Kentucky University. Active in environmental and water quality education, she offers algae workshops for the community and various Ohio River foundations.

The authors of this small, useful guide fill a void for students and water quality practitioners wishing to identify the cyanobacteria found in their nearby freshwater habitats or water treatment facilities. This book offers concise chapters on collecting samples; defining morphological features that define cyanobacteria, their toxins, and levels of toxicity (useful for water quality assessment); and a commentary on local control of freshwater cyanobacterial blooms. The heart of the book is a guide to 37 of the most common genera found in North America, each of which is carefully described and illustrated with microscopic photographs. -- Choice

This work is not only an excellent contribution to its field but also a valuable resource and teaching tool for non-specialist readers, students, scientists, and water professionals for many years to come. -- Mary Carol Wagner, Water Quality Manager, Northern Kentucky Water District

A Guide to Cyanobacteria is excellent and well done. It will be useful for people or professionals who are just starting to study algae and a good reference for those already working in the field of algae. -- Roger Tucker, Biologist, Louisville Water Company