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Freshwater Science: Project CYBORG (CYano BlOom dRivers and Genes) | Ohio Sea Grant

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Freshwater Science: Project CYBORG (CYano BlOom dRivers and Genes)

April 24, 2024 – New research from Ohio Sea Grant, Stone Lab and the Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative

The Great Lakes provide a host of ecosystem services to many millions of people but are under threat from multiple stressors, including cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs). To date CHABs in the Great Lakes have been investigated lake-by-lake or even river-by-river, with studies in each location tuned to local perspectives and framed with different research questions, making it difficult to generalize findings and determine how results from one location can be applied elsewhere.

Drs. George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green State University; Bob Sterner, University of Minnesota-Duluth; and Todd Miller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, have standardized an experimental approach to compare how patterns of nitrogen and phosphorus affect algal blooms and vary across Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Erie and how those are influenced by temperature and climate change. The results are illuminating the similarities and differences in how blooms start, persist and produce toxins in these diverse environments and will inform more specific bloom management strategies. notextile.

About the Speakers

George Bullerjahn
George Bullerjahn Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University

Dr. Bullerjahn’s work has traditionally focused on enumeration and the physiological performance of phototrophs and ecologically important chemolithotrophs in aquatic systems. Specifically, the team currently examines the composition and dynamics of cyanobacterial and microbial communities in freshwater environments, focusing primarily on the N and P cycles in the Laurentian Great Lakes. These studies have assisted in the assessment of factors contributing to toxic cyanobacterial bloom events in regional lakes. BGSU’s efforts examining cyanobacterial blooms have led to the formation of the NIEHS and NSF-funded Great Lakes Center for Freshwaters and Human Health.
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Bob Sterner
Bob Sterner Department of Biology, University of Minnesota

Dr. Sterner has spent a career teaching and researching about lakes. He is one of the main founders of the field of Ecological Stoichiometry. He is a Fellow of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Minnesota, a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute on Ecosystems and Limnology and is President of the Northeastern Association of Marine and Great Lakes Laboratories. In 2014, he moved to the University of Minnesota Duluth where he became the Director of the Large Lakes Observatory, the only institution in the world dedicated to the scientific study of all the large lakes on Earth. Bob’s recent work there includes lead authorship of a paper on the Grand Challenges for Research in the Laurentian Great Lakes, the first paper examining cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Superior, and a review on the Biogeochemistry of the Laurentian Great Lakes.


Todd Miller
Todd Miller College of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Research in Dr. Miller’s laboratory is concerned with characterizing factors that regulate human exposure to naturally occurring or anthropogenic toxins in water or wastewater. He is particularly interested in understanding how microbial communities affect the concentration, fate and toxicity of harmful chemicals in the aquatic environment. The ultimate goal of this research is to formulate models (either numerical or conceptual) of toxin production, release, and degradation in aquatic systems. Since the diversity of biochemical functions performed by microorganisms is only beginning to be realized, this research is both challenging and intriguing.

Freshwater Science webinar series, go.osu.edu/OSGWebinars

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