Understanding Blue-Green Algae


F​lorida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) faculty member Dr. Barry Rosen works with cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, to better understand why they show up in certain places, why they are blooming, and what toxins they make. “The blue-green algae,” he says, “are an ancient group of organisms formerly a part of the food web. With certain disturbances in the environment like the nutrients from fertilizers getting into our waterways, that allows certain species of cyanobacteria to bloom. And some of them can make a toxin that’s toxic to human beings.”

The Water School at FGCU is a collection of professors across multiple disciplines which, they appreciate, allows for a more complete understanding of the benefits, as well as risk factors of many types of algae. The school faculty and students are exploring, as a high priority, new techniques for controlling the algal blooms that have invaded many Florida waterways. They are intent on finding ways to treat the blooms while minimizing the releasing of the toxins.

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