Spatiotemporal variability and environmental factors of harmful algal blooms (HABs) over western Lake Erie

Di Tian, Gengxin Xie, Jing Tian, Kuo Hsin Tseng, C. K. Shum, Jiyoung Lee, Song Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Over the past decades, numerous studies have been carried out in understanding causes of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and their dynamics, yielding great knowledge in this field. Lake Erie, the fourth-largest lake of the five Great Lake, is among those highly vulnerable to the impacts of HABs and has received substantial attention from the public, water management sectors, and academic field. Building upon previous work, this study aims to characterize spatiotemporal variability of Chlorophyll a (Chl-a), which is an important indicator of HABs, and to explore relative importance of environmental factors associated with HABs in the west Lake Erie. Ten years of biweekly Chl-a information over western Lake Erie were derived from MERIS data at the pixel scale. Based on the MERIS-derived information high concentrations of Chl-a were observed in the south near shore area in spring and fall and in the west corner area of western Lake Erie in all three seasons except winter. Wavelet analysis suggested that the 0.5- and 1-year periods were dominant modes for the Chl-a series. The Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) analysis was performed to explore factors associated with the dynamics of Chl-a. The results suggested that overall both phenological (e.g. wind) and ecological (e.g. nutrient levels) factors exhibited significant correlations with the remotely-sensed imagery based observations of Chl-a despite spatial and temporal variations. The important phenological and ecological factors include solar radiation and wind speed in spring, water temperature, solar radiation, and total Kjeldahl nitrogen concentration in summer, wind speed in fall, and water temperature and streamflow in winter. Both consistency and differences of findings of the study with others in the region may suggest strengths and limitations of the remotely sensed imagery-based analysis, offering valuable information for future work.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0179622
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatiotemporal variability and environmental factors of harmful algal blooms (HABs) over western Lake Erie'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this