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Algae of the Great Lakes Region
Mat-forming Algae

  

Most algae are capable of forming visible 'blooms' under the proper growing conditions. This page includes the Great Lakes species which commonly form floating mats. Mat or scum? - run your fingers through it (wear gloves if toxins suspected) if it coats like paint it's a scum, if it lifts basically in one piece (like hair) it's a mat.

Naturally occuring organic matter in the water can sometimes produce a foam; this is not an algae bloom, though it may be associated with a dying bloom. Pollen, bacteria, calcium carbonate precipitate, and oil can produce slicks on the water surface which look similar to an algae scum.

Great Lakes Algae Species List - Macroscopic Algae

Division Chlorophyta - Green Algae
  • Class Chlorophyceae
    • Order Chlorococcales
    • Order Cladophorales
      • Family Cladophoraceae
        • Genus Cladophora
          • Cladophora callicoma
          • Cladophora crispata
          • Cladophora fracta
          • Cladophora glomerata
          • Cladophora insignis
          • Cladophora oligoclona
          • Cladophora profunda
        • Genus Pithophora H
          • Pithophora mooreana
          • Pithophora oedogonia
          • Pithophora varia
        • Genus Rhizoclonium
          • Rhizoclonium crassipellitum
          • Rhizoclonium fontanum
          • Rhizoclonium hieroglyphicum
          • Rhizoclonium hookeri
    • Order Siphonales
      • Family Vaucheriaceae
        • Genus Vaucheria
          • Vaucheria aversa
          • Vaucheria geminata
          • Vaucheria hamata
          • Vaucheria longipes
          • Vaucheria nicholsii
          • Vaucheria ornithocephala
          • Vaucheria pachydermum
          • Vaucheria polysperma
          • Vaucheria orthocarpa
          • Vaucheria terrestris
          • Vaucheria sessilis
    • Order Tetrasporales
    • Order Ulotrichales
      • Suborder Ulotrichineae
    • Order Ulvales
    • Order Zygnematales
      • Family Zygnemataceae
        • Genus Mougeotia H
          • Mougeotia abnormis
          • Mougeotia americana
          • Mougeotia calcarea
          • Mougeotia capucina
          • Mougeotia cyanea
          • Mougeotia elegantula
          • Mougeotia floridana
          • Mougeotia genuflexa
          • Mougeotia gracilima
          • Mougeotia hirnii
          • Mougeotia laetevirens
          • Mougeotia laevis
          • Mougeotia maltae
          • Mougeotia micropora
          • Mougeotia nummuloides
          • Mougeotia parvula
          • Mougeotia pulchella
          • Mougeotia punctata
          • Mougeotia quadrangulata
          • Mougeotia reinschii
          • Mougeotia recurva
          • Mougeotia robusta
          • Mougeotia scalaris
          • Mougeotia sphaerocarpa
          • Mougeotia tumidula
          • Mougeotia varians
          • Mougeotia ventricosa
          • Mougeotia virescens
          • Mougeotia viridis
        • Genus Spirogyra H
          • Spirogyra aequinoctialis
          • Spirogyra affinis
          • Spirogyra borgeanna
          • Spirogyra borysthenica
          • Spirogyra catenaeformis
          • Spirogyra circumlineata
          • Spirogyra collinsii
          • Spirogyra communis
          • Spirogyra condensata
          • Spirogyra crassa
          • Spirogyra daedaleoides
          • Spirogyra decimina
          • Spirogyra dubia
          • Spirogyra ellipsospora
          • Spirogyra fallax
          • Spirogyra farlowii
          • Spirogyra flavescens
          • Spirogyra fluviatilis
          • Spirogyra fuellebornei
          • Spirogyra gracilis
          • Spirogyra gratiana
          • Spirogyra grevilleana
          • Spirogyra inconstans
          • Spirogyra inflata
          • Spirogyra juergensii
          • Spirogyra jugalis
          • Spirogyra laxa
          • Spirogyra longata
          • Spirogyra majuscula
          • Spirogyra maxima
          • Spirogyra micropunctata
          • Spirogyra mirabilis
          • Spirogyra nitida
          • Spirogyra novae-angliae
          • Spirogyra orientalis
          • Spirogyra porangabae
          • Spirogyra porticalis
          • Spirogyra pratensis
          • Spirogyra protecta
          • Spirogyra pseudofloridana
          • Spirogyra reflexa
          • Spirogyra rhizobrachialis
          • Spirogyra rivularis
          • Spirogyra scrobiculata
          • Spirogyra singularis
          • Spirogyra spreeiana
          • Spirogyra stictica
          • Spirogyra subsalsa
          • Spirogyra suecica
          • Spirogyra sulcata
          • Spirogyra tenuissima
          • Spirogyra teodoresci
          • Spirogyra triplicata
          • Spirogyra varians
          • Spirogyra weberi
Division Cyanophyta
  • Class Myxophyceae
    • Order Hormogonales
      • SubOrder Homocystineae
        • Family Oscillatoriaceae
            Genus Lyngbya
            • Lyngbya aerugineo-caerulea
            • Lyngbya aestuarii
            • Lyngbya birgei H
            • Lyngbya contorta H
            • Lyngbya diguetti
            • Lyngbya epiphytica
            • Lyngbya hieronymusii
            • Lyngbya lagerheimia
            • Lyngbya latissima
            • Lyngbya limnetica* (aka L. limneticum)
            • Lyngbya major
            • Lyngbya martensiana
            • Lyngbya nordgaardii
            • Lyngbya purpurea
            • Lyngbya spirulinoides
            • Lyngbya taylorii
            • Lyngbya versicolor
          • Genus Oscillatoria
            • Oscillatoria acutissima H
            • Oscillatoria agardhii*H
            • Oscillatoria amoena
            • Oscillatoria amphibia
            • Oscillatoria anguina
            • Oscillatoria angusta
            • Oscillatoria angustissima
            • Oscillatoria articulata
            • Oscillatoria bornetii
            • Oscillatoria chalybea
            • Oscillatoria curviceps
            • Oscillatoria formosa
            • Oscillatoria granulata
            • Oscillatoria hamelii
            • Oscillatoria lacustris
            • Oscillatoria limnea
            • Oscillatoria limnetica*#
            • Oscillatoria minima Ds
            • Oscillatoria nigra
            • Oscillatoria ornata
            • Oscillatoria princeps
            • Oscillatoria prolifica*
            • Oscillatoria rubescens*
            • Oscillatoria sancta
            • Oscillatoria splendida
            • Oscillatoria subbrevis*
            • Oscillatoria tenuis*H Dh
            • Oscillatoria terebriformis
      • Suborder Heterocystineae
        • Family Nostocaceae
          • Genus Anabaena
            • Anabaena aequalis
            • Anabaena affinis
            • Anabaena augustumnalis
            • Anabaena azollae
            • Anabaena bornetiana
            • Anabaena catenula
            • Anabaena circinalis*#
            • Anabaena felisii
            • Anabaena flos-aquae*# H
            • Anabaena helicoidea
            • Anabaena inaequalis
            • Anabaena lapponica
            • Anabaena levanderi
            • Anabaena limnetica
            • Anabaena macrospora
            • Anabaena oscillarioides
            • Anabaena planctonica
            • Anabaena scheremetievi
            • Anabaena spiroides*#
            • Anabaena subcylindrica
            • Anabaena torulosa
            • Anabaena unispora
            • Anabaena variabilis
            • Anabaena verrucosa
            • Anabaena viguieri
            • Anabaena wisconsinense
        • Family Rivulariaceae

Based on: G.W. Prescott. 1962. Algae of the Western Great Lakes Area. Wm. C. Brown Co., Inc.

*Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA sitePlankton in Lake Michigan 1983 - 1992 . EPA/GLNPO. Epilimnetic Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Biomass and Species Composition in Lake Michigan, 1983 to 1992. Joseph C. Makarewicz, Theodore Lewis and Paul Bertram. October 1994. [Reports Stylotheca aurea - Other references to this species of Chrysophyte cannot be found so this species is not included in the above list]

#Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA sitePlankton in Lake Ontario 1986 - 1992. EPA/GLNPO. Epilimnetic Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Biomass and Species Composition in Lake Ontario, 1986 to 1992. Joseph C. Makarewicz, Theodore Lewis1 and Paul Bertram. July 1995.

Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species List.

Ds Dm Dh De Do - Dominant algae species of each Lake - Per Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteResults From The Great Lakes National Program Office's Biological Open Water Surveillance Program Of The Laurentian Great Lakes for 1998. EPA.

H Brown and Manny. 1983. Nearshore Plankton of Hammond Bay, Lake Huron. Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteJGLR 9(4)523-529.

Additional taxonomic placements based on: Prescott. 1970. how to know the Freshwater Algae. Wm. C. Brown Co. [Enteromorpha]

Additional taxonomic placements based on: Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteProtist Information Server. [Planktonema]

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Schizochlamys sp. Courtesy of Biologisches-Labor Wien-Ost

Schizochlamys

 

Photo Credits

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteBiologisches Labor Wien-Ost
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteThe Wall - Michigan Tech
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteMichigan Tech
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteUniversity of Manitoba
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteBotanic Gardens Trust - Australian Freshwater Algae
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteUW Madison
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteBaltic Sea Portal
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteOhio University
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteCyanosite - Purdue University
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteProtist Information Server

Algae Links

Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteUniversity Paisley Biodiversity Reference
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA sitePhytopia

Bird icon indicates link to a non-GLERL NOAA siteIndicates a link to a non-GLERL NOAA website.
Globe icon indicates link to a non-NOAA siteIndicates a link to a non-NOAA website or content not generated by NOAA. NOAA is not responsible for the accuracy of content. Please check Privacy and Use Policies of the destination site.

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