Using artificial intelligence for cyanoHAB niche modeling: Discovery and visualization of Microcystis–environmental associations within western Lake Erie

David F. Millie, Gary R. Weckman, Gary L. Fahnenstiel, Hunter J. Carrick, Ehsan Ardjmand, William A. Young, Michael J. Sayers, Robert A. Shuchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs), mainly composed of the genus Microcystis, occur frequently throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes. We used artificial neural networks (ANNs) involving 31 hydrological and meteorological predictors to model total phytoplankton (as chlorophyll a) and Microcystis biomass from 2009 to 2011 in western Lake Erie. Continuous ANNs provided modeled-measured correspondences (and modeling efficiencies) ranging from 0.87 to 0.97 (0.75 to 0.94) and 0.71 to 0.90 (0.45 to 0.88) for training–cross-validation and test data subsets of chlorophyll a concentrations and Microcystis biovolumes, respectively. Classification ANNs correctly assigned up to 94% of instances for Microcystis presence– absence. The influences of select predictors on phytoplankton and CyanoHAB niches were visualized using biplots and threedimensional response surfaces. These then were used to generate mathematical expressions for the relationships between modeled CyanoHAB outcomes and the direct and interactive influences of environmental factors. Based on identified conditions (~40 to 50 µg total phosphorus (TP)·L-1, 22 to 26 °C, and prolonged wind speeds less than ~19 km·h-1) underlying the likelihood of occurrence and accumulation of phytoplankton and Microcystis, a “target” concentration of 30 µg TP·L-1 appears appropriate for alleviating blooms. ANNs generated robust ecological niche models for Microcystis, providing a predictive framework for quantitative visualization of nonlinear CyanoHAB–environmental interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1654
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume71
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2014

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