Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2013


The purpose of this study was to see if there were spatial differences in microcystin concentrations within reservoirs and examine whether more than one sample needs to be collected to more accurately represent water quality conditions. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) collects water samples from beach or shoreline areas where sampling is simple and people are more likely to be in direct contact with the water. I hypothesized that Microcystis concentrations would vary spatially in local reservoirs and that beach sampling may not accurately represent toxin conditions for the entire reservoir. This is significant at the time of sampling. For example, if prevailing winds blow towards the sampling site, toxin producing cyanobacteria may accumulate along the shoreline and give a false-positive reading and vice versa.