Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Patiño, R., Christensen, V.G., Graham, J.L., Rogosch, J.S, and Rosen, B.H. 2023. Toxic algae in inland waters of the conterminous United States—A review and synthesis.Water, 15(15), 2808.


Cyanobacteria are the most common toxigenic algae in inland waters. Their toxins can affect the health of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, including humans. Other algal groups, such as haptophytes (e.g., Prymnesium parvum) and euglenoids (e.g., Euglena sanguinea), can also form harmful algal blooms (HABs) whose toxins cause injury to aquatic biota but currently have no known effects on human health. Prymnesium parvum, however, is responsible for some of the worst HAB-related ecological disasters recorded in inland waters. Here, we provide an overview of the primary toxigenic algae found in U.S. inland waters: cyanobacteria (planktonic forms), P. parvum, and E. sanguinea with the objective of describing their similarities and differences in the areas of HAB ecology, algal toxins, and the potential for future range expansion of HABs. A detailed account of bloom habitats and their known associations with land cover and use is provided from the perspective of water quality. This review revealed that salinity may have an influence on inland cyanobacterial blooms and cyanotoxins that had not been fully recognized previously.