H2Know Podcast: Part 1

Dr. Justin Chaffin studies the cause and effect of HABs, particularly in Lake Erie. He explains there are many types of algae – both good and bad. Listen to Dr. Chaffin for more on the science of algae and his research.

Algal Bloom Images

Review the series of images.

Blue-green algae can create toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. Water should be avoided if:

  • It looks like spilled paint
  • Surface scums, mats or films are present
  • It is discolored or has colored streaks
  • There are green globs floating below the surface.

Caption informed by: ohioalgaeinfo.com

The colors we see in this aerial image may seem beautiful, but sometimes color contrasts like this can mean unhealthy bodies of water.

Notice the deep blue areas toward the center of the lake vs. the green-blue areas around the edges of the lake. The center of the lake is deeper, and therefore has generally cooler waters. The outer edges of the lake are more shallow and warmer – which we know is a great environment for the formation of algal blooms.

Identify Lake Erie on the map of the Great Lakes. Notice the contrast in color and clarity. You can see that many of the lakes have clear waters. When we look at Lake Erie in this aerial photo, we can clearly see the green color caused by algal blooms.

Bathymetry is the measurement of depth of water in oceans, seas, or lakes. The bathymetric image shown here depicts the depths of Lake Erie. Notice where the lake is most shallow. As we look at aerial images of the lake, keep in mind where these shallow areas are, and where algal blooms most often appear.

H2Know Podcast: Part 2

Dr. Justin Chaffin discusses HAB history and which nutrients must be present for algal blooms to flourish.

Section 02 Review

  • What makes Lake Erie an ideal environment for HABs?

  • What are the primary nutrients that create an algae bloom?

Upcoming Sections

Section 03

Study the Western Lake Erie Watershed to look for activities that may impact water quality.

Section 04

What research, strategies and technologies can farmers use to help protect water quality?

Section 05

Many people, including legislators, conservation groups and farmer organizations, are working on solutions. Which efforts will be effective?