Help Scientists Report, Track, and Monitor Algae Blooms

posted May 12, 2017, 11:58 AM by Joseph Bickard

In warmer months, lakes and ponds often go green. The change in color is most likely the result of an algae bloom which, besides being unattractive, can contain cyanobacteria. Some species of these tiny aquatic organisms produce toxins that can make people and animals sick.  

Blooms like these are happening more often and having greater impacts. Researchers want to better understand how these blooms impact human health, identify their toxicity, predict the probability of bloom occurrence, and share that information widely.

That’s where the Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative comes in. The collaborative was formed by EPA and the University of New Hampshire to work with the public, water quality managers, and citizen scientists to track, map, and monitor algae blooms. Those interested in participating can report algae blooms via the bloomWatch app, collect and share images of cyanobacteria via cyanoScope, and periodically collect water samples to monitor cyanobacteria populations over time via the cyanoMontoring program.

The collaborative effort was recently featured in the National Geographic article, “10 Easy Ways You Can Help Scientists Study the Earth”.