Mapping Algal Blooms Combats Future Outbreaks

In normal concentrations, algae are an important component of healthy freshwater systems. When supplied with excessive nutrient levels in water warm enough to promote growth, however, cyanobacteria can multiply out of control to form harmful algal blooms that cause numerous health and environmental problems. Unfortunately, the Great Lakes have seen a dramatic rise in the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms over the last decade. To effectively manage and prevent harmful algal blooms, health and environmental officials need to understand the relationship between blooms and their causal factors. Thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, researchers from Michigan Technological University are studying harmful algae bloom trends to help guide future management. Researchers used archived satellite imagery to record the extent and biomass of past algal bloom events and correlated this data with potential causal factors over the same time frame, including nutrient loading and water temperatures. Read more here.

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