Water-Related News

South Florida becomes epicenter of new algae study

SOUTH FLORIDA – Researchers in South Florida are following more than 100 people who’ve been exposed to toxic algae in an attempt to figure out just how bad it is for humans.

“Really what we’re looking at is the risk,” said Dr. Mike Parsons from FGCU’s Water School. “Is it a problem if people are living on a canal where there’s an algal bloom? Is that a problem if you’re out boating or working at a restaurant right on a water body where there’s a blue-green algal bloom? And, we just don’t know.”

The most well-known potentially toxic algae Floridians come across is what’s known as blue-green algae – a form of cyanobacteria.

“In freshwater that is going to be your dominant organism that may cause an issue and it tends to float up in the water column,” explained Dr. Barry Rosen from FGCU’s Water School. “They can form a surface scum and many of the forms that we see floating up can make a toxin.”

Right now, Dr. Rosen and Dr. Mike Parsons from FGCU’s water school are working on a new, state-of-the-art study alongside researchers at Florida Atlantic University to better understand how much algae exposure is bad for humans. This new study also hones in on the most likely method of human exposure which is airborne exposure through a process called aerosolization.