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How is climate change affecting cyanobacteria in N.H. lakes, ponds and other waters?

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There are about 12 different species of the bacteria across New Hampshire, all of which can have different presentations. Some look like an oil slick on top of the water, but the typical presentation is a blue-green splotch. It’s peak season for cyanobacteria blooms: the blue-green algae that sprouts in bodies of water, which can be harmful for humans and animals.

As of July 15, there are two active cyanobacteria advisories on New Hampshire waters, at Keyser Pond in Henniker and Silver Lake Beach in Hollis.

As summers get warmer with a changing climate, those blooms have more of a chance to thrive, said University of New Hampshire professor emeritus Jim Haney.

“There are larger blooms now, because with the warmer water, this gives an advantage to the cyanobacteria that have an optimal temperature several degrees higher than most of the other plankton,” he said.

While it’s not unusual to see cyanobacteria activity this time of year, Haney said “what’s less normal is the number of lakes that are displaying these blooms, and especially lakes that in the past have not had blooms.” Warmer weather has also extended the season for cyanobacteria blooms, he said.

And changing weather patterns, including heavier rains and more […]

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