H2Know Podcast: Part 1

Dr. Tom Bruulsema is Chief Scientist with Plant Nutrition Canada and provides support to the agricultural industry with agronomic, crop and soil science in the Lake Erie Watershed and beyond. He has lived in the Lake Erie Watershed much of his life.

Algal Bloom Images

Review the series of images.

Blue Green Algae:

  • Can become toxic to humans and animals
  • Plant-like organisms that are microscopic
  • They naturally occur lakes, streams, rivers and ponds and in the right conditions a bloom may occur Most often they are blue-green, but can also be olive-green
  • A large bloom may look like green or turquoise paint

Info from: https://www.ontario.ca/page/blue-green-algae

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. Tom Bruulsema discusses HAB history and which nutrients must be present for algal blooms to flourish.

Section 02 Review

  • What conditions in Lake Erie make it ideal for HABs to form?

  • What is the primary nutrient that help 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?