Algae seminar aims to expand global attention

BOWLING GREEN — With the help of federal grant money, Bowling Green State University is holding a two-day symposium in April that will shed some light on how algae is becoming a greater problem worldwide as the Earth’s climate warms, its population increases, and land-use pressures intensify.

The university said Monday it will announce the April 13-14 event later this week.

Participation in the workshop will be by invitation only.

But plans call for an open forum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 14 in 101 Olscamp Hall, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA and the National Science Foundation are the two federal partners behind the symposium, which is to include algae scientists from China and Austria as featured speakers, as well as experts from across North America.

One of the organizers, George Bullerjahn, a BGSU algae researcher, said the goal is to get people to think more globally.

The most prevalent form of algae in western Lake Erie, microcystis, can be found in dozens of lakes and streams across North America. But there are many different varieties of cyanobacteria — that is, bacteria often called harmful blue-green algae because of their color, potential toxicity and algaelike characteristics — fouling fresh water globally.

The common denominator is excessive nutrients.

“Many productive discussions have happened regionally since last year’s Toledo water crisis, but cyanobacterial blooms happen everywhere,” he said. “Hearing from experts who study these blooms worldwide can provide a broader perspective on how these events can be managed.”

The BGSU researcher is organizing the event with his colleague, Mike McKay, and Tim Davis, a scientist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

In a related matter, testimony resumes this week on a pair of algae bills under consideration in the Ohio General Assembly.

The Ohio Senate’s agriculture committee, which is expected to vote on Senate Bill 1 later this month, will take more testimony today in Columbus.

On Thursday, that committee’s counterpart in the Ohio House will hold a special hearing in Sylvania.


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