Universities awarded grants to study harmful algae blooms

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan universities have received state funding to develop technologies that would help identify and track harmful algae blooms in the Great Lakes.

The state Department of Environmental Quality awarded Oakland University $158,314 to produce harmful algae hazard maps that can be continually updated. Researchers also will explore development of a smartphone app that citizen volunteers could use to detect the blooms.

Grand Valley State University was given $83,573 to find methods for rapidly determining whether certain types of algae are producing toxins at the cellular level. The project is meant to help create early-warning systems and provide information on ecological factors that cause blooms to form.

Harmful algae blooms consist of bacteria that are fed by nutrients that flow into waterways from farms, wastewater treatment plants and other sources.

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