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. . ."
All year long the US Geological Survey (USGS) in North Dakota and South Dakota monitors water levels, but during times of flooding, all eyes are on the team. EM spoke to USGS data chief Chris Laveau about the monitoring efforts. “The US Geological Survey in North Dakota and South Dakota is one entity, so we monitor the flooding in both states,” explains Mr. Laveau.. . .
Say the word “tsunami” and images of tremendous waves engulfing homes or masses of debris might come to mind. Those tsunamis that are triggered by massive landslides and earthquakes are in fact at that scale. But weather can trigger more localized “meteotsunamis” as well, and new research shows just how common these are along the East Coast of the United States.. . .
For scientists working in the field, monitoring for data isn’t enough—you have to get that data back. This is of course true, no matter how sophisticated a real-time monitoring solution is. Recent testing of a wireless mesh environmental sensing network at Virginia Tech reveals a promising new option for this kind of problem, and Innovative Wireless Technologies (IWT) principal investigator Matthew Fisher spoke to EM about the testing and the network: Envōk.
Around the world, the occasional phenomenon known as sneaker waves poses a threat to beachgoers. Unusually large sneaker waves in 2016 and 2018 prompted Oregon State University (OSU) researchers to investigate these mysterious events. The research revealed the presence of runup signals that can provide earlier warnings to officials, reducing risk from these dangerous events.
“Sneaker waves occur in the Pacific Northwest, but they’re also a worldwide phenomenon,” explains Dr. Ozkan-Haller...
Recent research from a University of Guelph (U of G) team reveals that warmer temperatures caused by climate change are forcing species to alter their behavior, causing food webs in Ontario lakes to transform. As temperatures warm, larger species hunt new prey in deeper waters, changing the ways nutrients and energy flow in lakes and triggering a “rewiring” of food webs.
Some of the most interesting data in the world of river and stream monitoring come at times when it’s practically impossible to capture—during extreme weather events, for example. Timing alone makes capturing unusual events a challenge, and these kinds of issues have prompted researchers to use classic monitoring data along with new technologies to develop and improve hydraulic modeling for estimating river flows.
Adrift on the open ocean, even aquatic species can feel stranded, without their usual habitats and food sources. This has been the situation for various species post-2011 Japanese tsunami for years now. Researchers are digging into the lasting effects this displacement could have on them—and on the places they end up. Dr. Linsey Haram, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), spoke to EM about her research following the winding path of some of these species.
This past winter, physical oceanographer Jenny Brown and her team at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), United Kingdom, were trialing a new concept: “WireWall” with colleagues at HR Wallingford. This new system for measuring wave hazard at sea walls allows managers to understand flood risk for existing coastal structures better, and Dr. Brown spoke to EM about the system and what inspired it.