Ecology of cyanobacterial blooms with an emphasis on understanding how biotic and abiotic factors influence cyanobacterial bloom formation in a variety of systems including recreational reservoirs and aquaculture ponds.

Current Projects

Creating a tool for forecasting harmful algal blooms using earth observations and machine learning to predict (HELP) high risk surface water sources
Funding: AAES AgR-SEED program - $149,546
September 2021 - August 2023
Stephanie Rogers (PI, Auburn University), Yin Bao (co-PI, Auburn University), and Edna Fernandez-Figueroa (co-PI, Auburn University)

Harmful algal blooms: Prevalence and control measures for the domestic fish and shellfish industries
Funding: USDA - Agricultural Research Service - $1,070,000
June 2020 - May 2025
Benjamin Beck (USDA ARS)

Past Projects

Toxic cyanobacterial blooms and fish farming
Funding: Auburn University Agricultural Experimental Station - $54,650
October 2007 - September 2008
Jesse Chappell (co-PI, Auburn University)

Forecasting toxic cyanobacterial blooms throughout the southeastern U.S.
Funding: USGS - National Institutes for Water Resources - $247,891
September 2011 - August 2014
Russell Wright (co-PI, Auburn University) and Kevin Schrader (co-PI, USDA)

Do toxic cyanobacteria threaten Alabama's drinking water reservoirs?
Funding: AAES AgR-SEED program - $50,000
October 2016 - September 2018
Dennis Harrison (co-PI, Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Bridging the gap between science, people, and policy for sustainable watershed management in the Tallapoosa River basin and beyond
Funding: Auburn University Water Center - $67,636 (total $500,000)
June 2008 - May 2010
Bill Deutsch (PI) and many others (Auburn University)


  1. Gladfelter, M. F., R. P. Buley, A. P. Belfiore, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, B. L. Gerovac, N. D. Baker, and A. E. Wilson. 2022. Dissolved nitrogen form mediates phycocyanin content in cyanobacteria. Freshwater Biology 67(6): 954-964. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  2. Belfiore, A., R. P. Buley, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, M. Gladfelter, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Zooplankton as an alternative method for controlling phytoplankton in catfish pond aquaculture. Aquaculture Reports 21:100897. - Link to Publication
  3. Green, W. R., A. B. Hoos, A. E. Wilson, and E. N. Heal. 2021. Development of a screening tool to examine lake and reservoir susceptibility to eutrophication in selected watersheds of the eastern and southeastern United States. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5075, 59 pages  - Link to Publication
  4. Buley, R. P., H. E. Correia, A. Abebe, T. B. Issa, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Predicting microcystin occurrence in freshwater lakes and reservoirs: assessing environmental variables. Inland Waters 11(3):430-444.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  5. Buley, R. P., A. Kelly, L. Roy, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, M. Gladfelter, A. Belfiore, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Controlling Microcystis blooms in Alabama catfish aquaculture. Alabama Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet ANR-2757.  5pp. - Link to Publication
  6. Clark, A., B. Howell, A. E. Wilson, and T. Schwartz. 2021. Draft genomes for one Microcystis-resistant and one Microcystis-sensitive strain of the water flea, Daphnia pulicariaG3 11(11):jkab266 - Link to Publication
  7. Hyman, M., Q. Wang, A. E. Wilson, S. Adhikari, and B. T. Higgins. 2021. Production of Daphnia zooplankton on wastewater-grown algae for sustainable conversion of waste nutrients to fish feed. Journal of Cleaner Production 310:127501. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  8. Fernandez-Figueroa, E. G., A. P. Belfiore, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Drones for monitoring “blue-greens” in catfish aquaculture ponds. Fish Farming News 2021(1):16-17. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  9. Chislock, M. F., B. K. Olsen, J.J. Choi, A. Abebe, T. L. Bleier, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Contrasting patterns of 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) vs. geosmin across depth in a drinking water reservoir are mediated by cyanobacteria and actinobacteria. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 28:32005-32014. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  10. Fernandez-Figueroa, E. G., R. P. Buley, M. U.G. Barros, M. F. Gladfelter, W. D. McClimans, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Carlson’s trophic state index is a poor predictor of cyanobacterial dominance in drinking water reservoirs. AWWA Water Science 3(2):e1219. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  11. Valle-Pombrol, A., A. Comas-Gonzalez, D. Castro-Rodriguez, A. Garcia-Moya, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Planktonic cyanobacteria from the Abreus Reservoir, Cienfuegos, Cuba. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 16(1):20-29. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  12. Buley, R. P., C. Adams, A. P. Belfiore, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, M. F. Gladfelter, B. Garner, D. L. Straus, and A. E. Wilson. 2021. Field evaluation of seven products to control cyanobacterial blooms in aquaculture. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 28:29971-29983. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  13. Barros, M. U.G., J. I.R. Leitão, T. R.B.T. Aranha, S. Simsek, R. P. Buley, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, M. F. Gladfelter, A. E. Wilson, and J. Capelo-Neto. 2020. Icyano: A cyanobacterial bloom vulnerability index for drinking water treatment plants. Water Supply 20(8):3517-3530.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  14. Clemente, A., A. E. Wilson, S. Oliveira, I. Menezes, A. Gois, and J. Capelo-Neto. 2020. The role of hydraulic conditions of coagulation and flocculation on the damage of cyanobacteria. Science of the Total Environment 740:139737. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  15. Belfiore, A. and A. E. Wilson. 2020. Improving catfish pond water quality by reducing planktivorous fish abundance. Fish Farming News 2020(1):8-10.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  16. Thurlow, C. M., M. A. Williams, A. Carrias, C. Ran, M. Newman, J. Tweedie, E. Allison, L. N. Jescovitch, A. E. Wilson, J. S. Terhune, and M. R. Liles. 2019. Bacillus velezensis AP193 exerts probiotic effects in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and reduces aquaculture pond eutrophication. Aquaculture 503:347-356. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  17. Cook, K. V., C. Li, H. Cai, L. Krumholz, K. D. Hambright, H. W. Paerl, M. Steffen, A. E. Wilson, M. Burford, H.-P. Grossart, D. Hamilton, H.-L. Jiang, A. Sukenik, D. Latour, E. Meyer, J. Padisak, B. Qin, R. Zamor, and G. Zhu. 2020. The global Microcystis interactome. Limnology and Oceanography 65:S194-S207.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  18. Garner, B., C. Adams, R. Buley, and A. E. Wilson. 2019. Aquaculture 2019: Auburn students' perspective. World Aquaculture 50(2):19  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  19. Barros, M. U. G., A. E. Wilson, J. I. R. Leitão, S. P. Pereira, R. P. Buley, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, and J. Capelo-Neto. 2019. Environmental factors associated with toxic cyanobacterial blooms across 20 drinking water reservoirs in a semi-arid region of Brazil. Harmful Algae 86:128-137. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  20. Chislock, M. F., O. Sarnelle, L. M. Jernigan, V. R. Anderson, A. Abebe, and A. E. Wilson. 2019. Consumer adaptation mediates top-down regulation across a productivity gradient. Oecologia 190:195-205. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  21. Buley, R. P., Z. Yang, M. F. Gladfelter, and A. E. Wilson. 2019. Controlling blue-green algal blooms in aquaculture ponds using hydrogen peroxide. Fish Farming News 2019(1):3-5. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  22. Chislock, M. F., R. B. Kaul, K. A. Durham, O. Sarnelle, and A. E. Wilson. 2019. Eutrophication mediates rapid clonal evolution in Daphnia pulicariaFreshwater Biology 64:1275-1283. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  23. Baker, B. C., A. E. Wilson, and J. T. Scott. 2018. Phytoplankton N2 fixation efficiency and its effect on harmful algal blooms. Freshwater Science 37(2):264-275. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  24. Yang, Z., R. P. Buley, E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa, M. U.G. Barros, S. Rajendran, and A. E. Wilson. 2018. Hydrogen peroxide treatment promotes chlorophytes over toxic cyanobacteria in a hyper-eutrophic aquaculture pond. Environmental Pollution 240:590-598.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  25. Minasyan, A., C. Christophoridis, A. E. Wilson, S.-K. Zervou, T. Kaloudis, and A. Hiskia. 2018. Diversity of cyanobacteria and the presence of cyanotoxins in the epilimnion of Lake Yerevan (Armenia). Toxicon 150:28-38. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  26. Wilson, A. E. and E. G. Fernandez-Figueroa. 2018. Preparing water resource managers to identify and measure toxic cyanobacteria. Streamlines Spring 2018:18. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  27. Wilson, A. E., E. G. Fernandez, R. Buley, and L. A. Roy. 2018. Is sustainable control of toxic algae a reality for catfish aquaculture? Fish Farming News 2018(1):7-8.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  28. Wilson, A. E., M. F. Chislock, Z. Yang, M. U.G. Barros, and J. F. Roberts. 2018. Pond bank access as an approach for managing toxic cyanobacteria in beef cattle pasture drinking water ponds. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 190:247. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  29. Lyu, K., L. Zhang, L. Gu, X. Zhu, A. E. Wilson, and Z. Yang. 2017. Cladoceran offspring tolerance to toxic Microcystis is promoted by maternal warming. Environmental Pollution 227:451-459. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  30. Olsen, B. K., M. F. Chislock, A. Rebelein, and A. E. Wilson. 2017. Nutrient enrichment and vertical mixing mediate 2-methylisoborneol and geosmin concentrations in a drinking water reservoir. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply 17(2):500-507. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  31. Olsen, B. K., M. F. Chislock, and A. E. Wilson. 2016. Eutrophication mediates a common off-flavor compound, 2-methylisoborneol, in a drinking water reservoir. Water Research 92:228-234.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  32. Ger, K. A., P. Urrutia-Cordero, P. C. Frost, L.-A. Hansson, O. Sarnelle, A. E. Wilson, and M. Lurling. 2016. The interaction between cyanobacteria and zooplankton in a more eutrophic world. Harmful Algae 54:128-144.  (Clarivate Analytics Web of Science Highly Cited Paper) - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  33. Lyu, K., H. Guan, C. Wu, X. Wang, A. E. Wilson, and Z. Yang. 2016. Maternal consumption of non-toxic Microcystis by Daphnia magna induces tolerance to toxic Microcystis in offspring. Freshwater Biology 61:219-228  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  34. Chislock, M. F. 2015. Ecology and management of off-flavors and cyanotoxins. LakeLine. Winter 2015:43-46 
  35. Kasinak, J.-M. E., C. J. Bishop, R. A. Wright, and A. E. Wilson. 2015. Grass carp do not consume the nuisance benthic cyanobacterium, Lyngbya wolleiJournal of Aquatic Plant Management 53:74-80. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  36. Lyu, K., L. Zhang, X. Zhu, G. Cui, A. E. Wilson, and Z. Yang. 2015. Arginine kinase in the cladoceran Daphnia magna: cDNA sequencing and expression is associated with resistance to toxic MicrocystisAquatic Toxicology 160:13-21.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  37. Kasinak, J.-M. E., B. M. Holt, M. F. Chislock, and A. E. Wilson. 2015. Benchtop fluorometry of phycocyanin as a rapid approach for estimating cyanobacterial biovolume. Journal of Plankton Research 37(1):248-257. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  38. Doster, E., M. F. Chislock, J. F. Roberts, J. J. Kottwitz, and A. E. Wilson. 2014. Recognition of an important water quality issue at zoos: prevalence and potential threat of toxic cyanobacteria. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 45(1):165-168. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  39. Chislock, M. F., K. L. Sharp, and A. E. Wilson. 2014. Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii dominates under very low and high nitrogen-to-phosphorus ratios. Water Research 49:207-214. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  40. Chislock, M. F., O. Sarnelle, B. K. Olsen, E. Doster, and A. E. Wilson. 2013. Large effects of consumer offense on ecosystem structure and function. Ecology 94(11):2375-2380.  - Dowload Publication (PDF) - Link to Publication
  41. Vanderploeg, H. A., A. E. Wilson, T. H. Johengen, J. Dyble, O. Sarnelle, J. R. Leibig, S. D. Robinson, and G. P. Horst. 2013. The role of selective grazing by dreissenid mussels in promoting toxic Microcystis blooms and other changes in phytoplankton composition in the Great Lakes.  Invited book chapter in Quagga and Zebra Mussels: Biology, Impacts, and Control, Second Edition.  Editors: T. Nalepa and D. Schloesser.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. pp. 509-524. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  42. Wilson, A. E., M. F. Chislock, E. Doster, R. A. Wright, J. J. Kottwitz, H. Walz, and H. Rose. 2013. Toxic algae threaten livestock health. The Alabama Cattleman June 2013:16-17. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  43. Wilson, A. E. and M. F. Chislock. 2013. Ecological control of cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater ecosystems.  Invited book chapter in Cyanobacteria: Toxicity, ecology, and management. Editor: A. Ferrão-Filho. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York. pp. 213-221.  - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  44. Chislock, M. F., E. Doster, R. A. Zitomer, and A. E. Wilson. 2013. Eutrophication: Causes, consequences, and controls in aquatic ecosystems. Nature Education Knowledge 4(4):10. - Dowload Publication (PDF) - Link to Publication
  45. Chislock, M. F., O. Sarnelle, L. M. Jernigan, and A. E. Wilson. 2013. Do high concentrations of microcystin prevent Daphnia control of phytoplankton? Water Research 47(6):1961-1970. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  46. Berry, J. P., E. Lee, K. Walton, A. E. Wilson, and F. Bernal-Brooks. 2011. Microcystin production by a persistent cyanobacterial bloom in Lago de Patzcuaro (Michiacan, Mexico) and apparent bioaccumulation of the toxin in small commercial catches of fish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30(7):1621-1628.
  47. White, J. D., R. B. Kaul, L. B. Knoll, A. E. Wilson, and O. Sarnelle. 2011. Large variation in vulnerability to grazing within a population of the colonial phytoplankter, Microcystis aeruginosaLimnology and Oceanography 56(5):1714-1724. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  48. Wilson, A. E., R. B. Kaul, and O. Sarnelle. 2010. Growth rate consequences of coloniality in a harmful phytoplankter. PLoS ONE 5(1):e8679. - Link to Publication
  49. Wilson, A. E. and M. E. Hay. 2007. A direct test of cyanobacterial chemical defense: Variable effects of microcystin-treated food on two Daphnia pulicaria clonesLimnology and Oceanography 52(4):1467-1479. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  50. Wilson, A. E., W. A. Wilson, and M. E. Hay. 2006. Intraspecific variation in growth and morphology of the bloom-forming cyanobacterium, Microcystis aeruginosaApplied and Environmental Microbiology 72(11):7386-7389. - Dowload Publication (PDF)
  51. Sarnelle, O. and A. E. Wilson. 2005. Local adaptation of Daphnia pulicaria to toxic cyanobacteria. Limnology and Oceanography 50(5):1565-1570.
  52. Wilson, A. E., O. Sarnelle, B. A. Neilan, T. P. Salmon, M. M. Gehringer, and M. E. Hay. 2005. Genetic variation of the bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa within and among lakes: Implications for harmful algal blooms. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71(10):6126-6133. - Dowload Publication (PDF)