Water Quality Woes in Southwest Florida Linked to Seeping Septic Systems

From fecal bacteria to blue-green algae to red tides, Southwest Florida’s water quality has declined as its population has increased. Multiple lines of evidence from a multi-year microbial source tracking study points to septic systems as a contributing source for this decline. The study is one of few to connect downstream harmful algal blooms with nutrient loading from upstream septic systems. These water quality issues are caused by aging septic systems installed in high densities in areas with shallow water tables. Septic systems may actually be sitting in groundwater during certain times of the year, which means that they cannot function properly.

New Tool Will Assess Water Discharge Impacts from Florida’s Everglades

An innovative tool will holistically examine and diagnose key processes with numerical simulations and experiments and predict changes in responses to water management, ecological restoration and climate change. It is designed to provide a suite of environmental and ecological information on the state of the greater Florida Bay ecosystem as well as potential future changes. Importantly, this model could potentially predict underwater aquatic vegetation coverage, harmful algal blooms, and fisheries resources under climate change and/or Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program management scenarios.

Free Online Video Series Open to the Public ‘Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms in Florida’

The free online series of short videos are designed to provide basic, jargon-free scientific information on harmful algal blooms: what they are; where they live and grow; and causes, impacts, and potential mitigation of blooms. The series is directed toward resource managers and decision-makers as well as the general public.

Surge in Nitrogen Has Turned Sargassum into the World’s Largest Harmful Algal Bloom

Scientists have discovered dramatic changes in the chemistry and composition of Sargassum, floating brown seaweed, transforming this vibrant living organism into a toxic “dead zone.” Results suggest that increased nitrogen availability from natural and anthropogenic sources, including sewage, is supporting blooms of Sargassum and turning a critical nursery habitat into harmful algal blooms with catastrophic impacts on coastal ecosystems, economies, and human health. Globally, harmful algal blooms are related to increased nutrient pollution.

FAU Receives Florida Department of Health Grant to Study Health Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms

Despite many occurrences of red tide and blue green algae in Florida waters, the understanding of the health effects of exposure to these blooms is limited. Researchers will evaluate short- and long-term health effects of exposure to harmful algal blooms (HABS) in Florida to capture key areas of human exposure and a wide demographic population profile. They also will evaluate the potential effect of exposure to COVID-19 on susceptibility to HABs and health outcomes in this study population.

FAU Awarded $2.2 Million to Monitor Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Okeechobee

Researchers are developing a comprehensive sensing and information visualization package that will augment Florida’s existing monitoring programs for Lake Okeechobee, the second largest lake within the contiguous U.S. It will expand water, sediment, and biological measurements using innovative harmful algal bloom detection and environmental characterization technologies to allow pinpointing problem areas prior to or early on when harmful algal blooms are emerging in Lake Okeechobee. These harmful blooms are annual occurrences due to favorable environmental conditions.

BGSU’s Davis named to global steering committee for harmful algal blooms

Dr. Timothy Davis, the Patrick L. & Debra (Scheetz) Ryan Endowed Professor at BGSU, was one of nine international researchers recently named to the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) for GlobalHAB, an international program that is jointly sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Offers “Earth Day at Home” Webinar Series

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 16, 2020) – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Rutgers Cooperative Extension will offer an “Earth Day at Home” webinar series. The webinars, on Mondays from April 20 to June…

The Nose Knows: Study Establishes Airborne Exposure to Harmful Algal Blooms’ Toxins

There are no limits specific to airborne concentrations of microcystins (blue-green algae) or inhalation guidelines. Little is known about recreational and occupational exposure to these toxins. New research provides evidence of aerosol exposure to microcystins in coastal residents. Researchers detected microcystin in the nasal passages of 95 percent of the participants; some who reported no direct contact with impacted water. Results also showed higher concentrations among occupationally exposed individuals and demonstrated a relationship between nasal and water microcystin concentrations.

New Portable Tool Analyzes Microbes in the Environment

Imagine a device that could swiftly analyze microbes in oceans and other aquatic environments, revealing the health of these organisms – too tiny to be seen by the naked eye – and their response to threats to their ecosystems. Rutgers researchers have created just such a tool, a portable device that could be used to assess microbes, screen for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and analyze algae that live in coral reefs. Their work is published in the journal Scientific Reports.