Twin Ports Freshwater Folk: Cyanobacteria in Lake of the Woods


Cody Sheik, associate professor, Department of Biology and Large Lakes Observatory, University of Minnesota Duluth.


Cody will give a presentation on his MNSG-funded project Lake of the Woods Cyanobacterial Blooms' Toxin-Producing Culprits, with a focus on Aphanizomenon, a type of cyanobacteria. 

Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are microscopic organisms found naturally in all types of water.

This project seeks to identify which cyanobacteria in Lake of the Woods are toxin-producing and how they respond over a growing season. Cody will also highlight some of the results from the project and discuss what they mean for the future of Lake of the Woods.

Cody's presentation will be part of the Minnesota Sea Grant Twin Ports Freshwater Folk event, January 3, 2024, from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. CT. This is a hybrid event with in-person and virtual options to attend.


Our understanding of drivers of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) is evolving, but it is apparent that not all lakes are created equal. Nitrogen is an important component of all cHABs and is crucial for cyanotoxin production. However, in northern lakes, external nitrogen inputs are typically low and suggest that internal nitrogen cycling, through heterotrophic organic matter decomposition or nitrogen fixation, may play a significant role in cHAB development and sustainment. Using Lake of the Woods as a testbed, we quantified nutrients, cyanotoxins, nitrogen fixation, and the microbial community in the southern extent of the lake.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024


11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. CT


  • In-person registration
  • Location: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, located in the Paulucci Building, 525 S. Lake Ave. # 400A, Duluth, MN 55802.
  • Directions: Take the elevator to the 4th floor. The conference room is a right turn from the elevator.
  • Public parking in Canal park is free. Commercial lots are not free.
  • Lunch will be provided.


  • Virtual registration
  • The virtual portion of the meeting will start at 12:00 p.m. CT. Note that there will be no virtual meet-and-greet breakout session.

Event schedule

  • 11:30 a.m. Meet-and-greet breakout sessions
  • 12:00 p.m. Announcements by attendees
  • 12:05 p.m. Seminar(s)
  • 12:45 p.m. Moderated question and answer
  • 1:00 p.m. Adjourn

About TPFF

Twin Ports Freshwater Folk (TPFF) is an informal gathering of people from the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, who are engaged in freshwater research, policy, or regulation issues, for networking and informal discussion. Meetings take place the first Wednesday of every month.

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Alex Frie, research and fellowship coordinator, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth.

Image credit: Cody Sheik