Algae Bloom Raises Concerns Algae Bloom

An increase in algae blooms in Central New York.

Dana: Summertime is here and algae blooms are growing, especially in shallow bodies of water around Central New York. A new tactic to tracking these algae blooms requires taking technology to new heights. By using drones.. Research student at Hobart and William Smith College Joshua Andrews says he correlates the images taken from the drones with the data researchers collect by the water of the Finger Lakes.

Joshua: And then there are some lakes that have been having them for a very long time. Like there’s a lake, one of the finger lakes, is called Honeoye and it is a bit more shallow lake which they think might contribute to how many algea blooms they have but they have them a bit more frequently.

Dana: Blue and green bacteria can be toxic and the worst algae blooms look like pea soup. The causes for the blooms are different depending on each lake and they are more prominent in August and September.

Algae blooms are common in Central New York during the late summer months . Hobart and William Smith research student Joshua Andrews says it is vital to find ways to detect the algae blooms so people do not get sick when they swim in a lake.  

A new tactic to tracking these blooms is using a multispectral drone that can see beyond a normal light spectrum. The drones can detect color patterns of algae in the water. 

The causes for the blooms are different depending on each lake. The worst algae blooms look like pea soup. 

Andrews correlates the images taken from the drone with the data researchers are collecting at the water.

Algae blooms are appearing in lakes that they have never been seen in before. For example, Skaneateles Lake. Andrews says this could be because of nutrients coming into the water from runoffs. 

Honeoye Lake is shallow and researchers believe that is why the lake has more frequent algae blooms. It is important to avoid going into the lake if there are any signs of algae. 


Reported by

Dana Casullo

My name is Dana Casullo. I am a graduate student at Syracuse University studying broadcast and digital journalism. I've had internships with News 4 and WBEN Radio News in Buffalo, New York.

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