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Report a Case with potential health effects caused by blue-green algae, visit the Department of Health Services.
If you are (or your local community is) interested in collecting samples for analysis, please contact the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene at (800)442-4618.
True algae (e.g., green algae) are very important to the food chain.
They are known as "primary producers", a name given to living organisms that can convert sunlight and inorganic chemicals into usable energy for other living organisms.
When the cells are broken open, the toxins may be released.
Sometimes this occurs when the cells die off naturally and they break open as they sink and decay in a lake or pond.
Concerns associated with blue-green algae include discolored water, reduced light penetration, taste and odor problems, dissolved oxygen depletions during die-off, and toxin production.
Blue-green algae generally grow in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams when the water is warm and enriched with nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen.
When environmental conditions are just right, blue-green algae can grow very quickly in number.
Many different species of blue-green algae occur in Wisconsin waters, but the most commonly detected include sp.
It is not always the same species that blooms in a given waterbody, and the dominant species present can change over the course of the season.