Investigating the Water Quality of Four Large Mississippi Lakes and Grand Bay, MS-AL Gulfcoast

Author(s): Dash, P.; Ikenga, J.; Pinckney, J.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), harmful microorganisms, and toxic metals represent three main water quality deteriorating agents in the water-bodies. The objectives of this research were to take a systems level approach to investigate the water quality of four large Mississippi freshwater lakes including lakes Sardis, Enid, Grenada and Ross Barnett Reservoir and the Grand Bay in Mississippi Alabama gulf coast. Ten field campaigns were undertaken to the freshwater lakes and six sampling trips were organized to the Grand Bay to collect water samples, to measure the physical parameters including temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and pH, to measure remote sensing reflectance and backscattering at twelve discrete sites in each of the water bodies. The water samples were collected for high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) photopigments, colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), suspended particulate matter (SPM), phycotoxins, nutrients, absorption, bacterial counts, toxic metals, and microscopy analyses. In all these water-bodies, organic SPM surpassed its inorganic counterpart, which indicates that organics have a bigger share in the water quality deterioration in these systems. The photo-pigments derived relative abundances of major algal groups suggested the abundance of cyanobacteria, diatoms and dinoflagellates in all these systems. An investigation of the species composition will reveal the detail community structure. Phycotoxins and several types of bacteria and toxic metals were found in all the water bodies. The observation of these water quality issues warrants continuous operational monitoring of the water quality, investigation of fate and transport of pollutants, and implementation of best management practices for all these water-bodies.

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