Columbus Researchers involved in the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative (HABRI) continue to get results in their quest to reduce and prevent harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their impacts on Ohio. This includes details on how algae move in the water near water treatment plant intakes, working with communities to develop practices that reduce phosphorus runoff, and building customized solutions to algal problems for municipal water reservoirs.
“These harmful algal bloom projects go a long way toward understanding bloom movement and toxicity, potential impacts on human health and improving the ways in which we treat drinking water. They are also addressing state agency priorities,” said Dr. Christopher Winslow, Ohio Sea Grant director.
Dr. Tom Bridgeman at the University of Toledo has been studying how algae, including the cyanobacteria that cause HABs, move through the water column over the course of a day. Details on where in the water algae are likely to be located can help water treatment plants better prepare for and reduce the amount of algae they’re taking into the system, potentially saving money on water treatment costs.
At The Ohio State University, Dr. Margaret Kalcic is leading a multi-university team of modeling experts to evaluate how changes in agriculture and other land management practices – timing and amount of fertilizer application, growing cover crops, and restoring wetlands, for example – are likely to affect water quality. The researchers are also using the models to see which of these changes are likely to lead to the 40% reduction in phosphorus runoff targeted by a number of policy initiatives.
And at the University of Akron, Drs. Teresa Cutright and Donald Ott are creating tailored solutions to water treatment goals for a number of Ohio reservoirs, helping them balance algae removal with avoiding toxin release from dead algal cells to better manage drinking water for their customers.
Information about HABRI projects, as well as partner organizations and background on the initiative is available on the Ohio Sea Grant website at go.osu.edu/habri. HABRI is overseen by The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo, with Ohio Sea Grant providing proposal coordination and ongoing project management.
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.