Scientists go microscopic to find answer to prevent blue-green algae

Scientists with U.S. Geological Survey’s southeast region and Caribbean Florida Water Science Center believe they can make a positive impact on the Southwest Florida water crisis and find an answer to prevent blue-green algae from returning.

Scientists will look at water in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River and the life cycle of the algae that lives in that water.

“Scientists are collecting different water samples, some of which they’ll leave untreated,” said Dr. Barry Rosen with the scientific agency. “But others, they’ll add nutrients to, to see if any of those nutrients will have an impact on the life cycle of harmful algal blooms.”

It takes more than one mind to make this experiment a success.

“This definitely requires many different types of scientists and their expertise,” said Dr. Joe Lopez at Nova Southeastern University.

Trying to understand the big picture, Lopez looks at the living on a smaller scale.

“We can understand a lot of what’s happening in a community or ecosystem by maybe looking at the expression of specific genes and their genomes,” Lopez said.

While they are still searching for an answer, it could be found on a microscopic level.

“The samples are being collected and processed,” Lopez said. “We don’t have any results yet.”

The groups involved with the experiment will test the Caloosahatchee three times in this year and will test Lake Okeechobee monthly for a full year.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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