As we hear more and more about algal blooms of different kinds across the United States, teams of scientists are working hard to ensure that they don’t become our new normal. One project in Florida is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem—including genetic analysis. The team’s work is part of a full-court press in Florida recently, making a serious push to understand what is triggering more frequent blooms.
From extreme weather such as Hurricane Harvey to spills and other accidents, the Gulf Coast of Texas is no stranger to dangerous situations. This is where the data provided by the Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS) comes into the picture. Among the nation’s most successful and longest-running coastal ocean-observing systems at the state level, the TABS real-time oceanographic buoy system monitors currents, waves, salinity, winds, and other parameters.
Formed by a glacier, Jordan Pond is among Maine’s clearest, most beautiful bodies of water. It’s also a critical freshwater resource, and watchful eyes are protecting it.
EM spoke with Dr. Rachel Fowler, Friends of Acadia’s aquatic scientist, about her work monitoring Jordan Pond.
River management is inherently complex, demanding mastery of constantly dynamic conditions even when the climate is stable. As the climate changes, however, river management will become even more difficult and unpredictable—and old models and techniques are likely to fail more often. Now, researchers from around the world are calling for attention and change to how we manage and model the rivers of the world.
This summer a new way to learn about water recreation—and environmental stewardship—paddled into Ohio. With the help of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA’s) Urban Waters Program brought the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile “floating classroom” to Toledo for a few days.
TMACOG Water Quality Planner Sara Guiher spoke to EM about the programming and the experience.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Inland Fisheries Division has been working to restore brook trout in the state. Coldwater research coordinator Jacob Rash, who works with the brook trout team technicians on this project, spoke to EM about the work. “In North Carolina, brook trout are our only native trout species,” explains Mr. Rash. “With that come biological and ecological considerations as well as cultural importance...."
Each year in Germany, as many as 450,000 living fish undergo live animal experiments to test how fish-friendly hydroelectric power plants in the country are. The idea is to discover how readily the fish can move through hydroelectric turbine installations in order to ultimately reduce mortality rates.
Of course, subjecting live fish to a potentially deadly test to save others is a bitter irony--one that a team of scientists from the RETERO research project hopes to eventually mitigate with a robotic fish for testing.
Dr. Jeanetts Schnars (red shirt) and RSC Lab Technician, Morgan Schnars at Pymatuning State Park’s 1st Annual Onion Festival where the Mobile HAB Lab (MHL) educated 243 visitors. Notice the side of the Mobile HAB Lab is a “selfie station” which includes the website for more information about HABs; this is to reduce the number of print material (brochures, etc.) that the team needs to distribute.
In the battle against harmful algal blooms (HABs), time is important. The need for laboratory equipment and testing is a serious challenge for water managers. This issue caught the eye of Qingshan Wei, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University. “Our research group is interested in developing low-cost sensors,” Wei told EM. “Recently we have been developing sensors for environmental monitoring, and cyanotoxins came to our attention.”
New research from scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows that an approach that assesses cumulative risk from water contaminants could save lives. EWG senior scientist Tasha Stoiber spoke with EM about how the team developed the innovative new approach. “Our organization has worked extensively on tap water over the years, and an updated version of our tap water database was just released in 2017,” explains Dr. Stoiber. “We’ve been thinking about new ways to analyze that data...
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) scientists are using a customized underwater robotic vehicle (remotely operated vehicle or ROV) called the Saab Seaeye Falcon on a critical conservation study of threatened and imperiled rockfish. Dr. Dayv Lowry, a Senior Marine Fish Research Scientist, spoke to EM about using the ROV to facilitate rockfish conservation and recovery in the Puget Sound.
Since the summer of 2018, Wilson Lake in Maine hosted a data buoy that contains a set of long-term environmental data loggers. The rugged buoy was specially designed for year-round use, monitoring dissolved oxygen and temperature even when it’s locked in ice. University of Maine, Farmington biology professor Dr. Rachel Hovel spoke to EM about the Wilson Lake buoy and her team’s work with its data.
Since 2003 harmful bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels have created a health risk to recreational users in Boulder Creek. Boulder Creek has been designated as an impaired stream and is not meeting an EPA health-based water quality standard. Concentrations of E. coli increase from the mouth of Boulder Canyon to the University of Colorado-Boulder and beyond based upon data collected by the City of Boulder according to information published by the CU Independent and the Boulder Camera.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, in collaboration with other partners, recently deployed a new ocean acidification (OA) monitoring site in Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa. Derek Manzello, a coral ecologist with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Florida, connected with EM about the deployment.
Around the world, extreme wave heights and ocean winds are increasing. The greatest increase is happening in the Southern Ocean, according to recent research from the University of Melbourne, and Dr. Ian Young corresponded with EM about what inspired the work. “Our main interest is ocean waves, and we are interested in wind because it generates waves,” explains Dr. Young. “Ocean waves are important for the design of coastal and offshore structures, the erosion of beaches and coastal flooding. . ."