Blooms can be a variety of colors, such as bright green, blue-green, white, red or yellowish-brown. The water may look like pea soup or the surface may look as if paint has been spilled on the water. They may or may not have thick scums or foam. Many cyanobacteria can sink or float to control their location in the water column, so a bloom can appear to move and change quickly. Other factors, such as wind, rain, wakes from recreational activities and currents, can also affect the location of a bloom or how it appears.

So how do you know if your bloom is cyanobacteria or not? You can always contact a professional by completing the Suspected Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Notification Form MO 780-2827A member of the response team will be glad to assist you in determining whether you should be concerned about the bloom. You can also review the photo gallery below to see examples of typical Missouri blooms, or check out the links below to see additional examples of cyanobacteria and non-blue-green algae.

When in doubt, stay out!