Harmful Cyanobacterial Aerosolization Dynamics in the Airshed of a Eutrophic Estuary

39 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2022

See all articles by Haley Plaas

Haley Plaas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ryan W. Paerl

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Karsten Baumann

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Colleen Karl

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kimberly J. Popendorf

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Malcolm A. Barnard

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Naomi Y. Chang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nathaniel P. Curtis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Hwa Huang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Olivia L. Mathieson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Joel Sanchez

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Daniela J. Maizel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Amy N. Bartenfelder

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jeremy S. Braddy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nathan S. Hall

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Karen L. Rossignol

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Randolph Sloup

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Hans W. Paerl

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

In addition to obvious negative effects on water quality in eutrophic aquatic ecosystems, recent work suggests that harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CHABs) also impact air quality via emissions carrying cyanobacterial cells and cyanotoxins. However, the environmental controls on CHAB-derived aerosol and its potential public health impacts remain largely unknown. Accordingly, the aims of this study were to 1) investigate the occurrence of microcystin (MC) and putatively toxic cyanobacterial communities in particulate matter < 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5), 2) elucidate environmental conditions promoting their aerosolization, and 3) identify associations between CHAB events and PM2.5 concentration in the airshed of the Chowan River-Albemarle Sound, a eutrophic estuarine system in eastern North Carolina, USA. In summer 2020, during peak CHAB season, continuous PM2.5 samples and interval water samples were collected for targeted analyses of cyanobacterial community composition and MC concentration. Supporting air and water quality measurements were made in parallel to contextualize findings and permit statistical analyses of environmental factors driving changes in CHAB-derived aerosol. Several aquatic CHAB genera recovered from Chowan River surface water were identified in PM2.5, including Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Dolichospermum, Microcystis, Pseudanabaena, and Tolypothrix. Cyanobacterial enrichment in PM2.5 was indistinctive at the subspecies level, but bloom state was an important factor in the enrichment of all CHAB cells in PM2.5. MC production was low throughout the study, but a CHAB dominated by Dolichospermum occurred from late-June to mid-July. In association with this CHAB event, the median PM2.5 mass concentration increased to 10.5 µg m-3 (IQR = 4.55), significantly above the non-bloom background of 5.81 µg m-3 (IQR = 5.48) (W = 1465, p < 0.001). Results underscore the need for highly resolved temporal measurements to conclusively investigate the role that freshwater algae, specifically CHABs, play in regional air quality and subsequent respiratory health risk.

Keywords: Water Quality, Toxic Cyanobacteria, Air Quality, PM2.5, Microcystis, Dolichospermum

Suggested Citation

Plaas, Haley and Paerl, Ryan W. and Baumann, Karsten and Karl, Colleen and Popendorf, Kimberly J. and Barnard, Malcolm A. and Chang, Naomi Y. and Curtis, Nathaniel P. and Huang, Hwa and Mathieson, Olivia L. and Sanchez, Joel and Maizel, Daniela J. and Bartenfelder, Amy N. and Braddy, Jeremy S. and Hall, Nathan S. and Rossignol, Karen L. and Sloup, Randolph and Paerl, Hans W., Harmful Cyanobacterial Aerosolization Dynamics in the Airshed of a Eutrophic Estuary. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4125290 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4125290

Haley Plaas (Contact Author)

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Ryan W. Paerl

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Karsten Baumann

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Colleen Karl

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Kimberly J. Popendorf

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Malcolm A. Barnard

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Naomi Y. Chang

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Nathaniel P. Curtis

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Hwa Huang

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Olivia L. Mathieson

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Joel Sanchez

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Daniela J. Maizel

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Amy N. Bartenfelder

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Jeremy S. Braddy

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Nathan S. Hall

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Karen L. Rossignol

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Randolph Sloup

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Hans W. Paerl

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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