Harmful Algal Bloom Symposium Returns for its third year

The Algal Bloom Action Team is once again hosting the popular Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium next week! The symposium, which will take place entirely virtually January 5-6th, will feature the latest research from harmful algal bloom or HAB researchers across the North Central Region and beyond, and highlight examples of how communities and watersheds are effectively tackling this complex issue.

The event will feature four sessions: 1) HAB monitoring and forecasting, 2) detection and treatment, 3) ecology and human health, and 4) case studies of effective bloom management; plus a keynote presentation from Heather Raymond, Water Quality Initiative Director at the Ohio State University who will discuss harmful algal bloom control resources and innovations.

These sessions allow for a range of research talks on emerging technologies for mitigating HABs that are of interest to both water professionals and property owners including ultraviolet light, flow-imaging microscopy, and the latest research on detecting HABs through remote sensing and satellite-derives water quality data. The event will also feature several case studies on how HABs are being managed in the region including in Lake Erie and across the Great Lakes and in the Cheney Reservoir outside Wichita, Kansas.

The team is also excited to feature emerging research fields relating to HABs including the latest research on the state of HABs in rivers, the current state of knowledge on the health effects of HAB toxin exposure, and even research on how perceptions of HABs differ among fishers and experts in Kenya off the coast of Lake Victoria. 

“We see an incredible interest in harmful algal bloom research,” notes Amy Weckle, Assistant Director of the Illinois Water Resources Center and one of the event organizers. “We continuously get over 1,000 individuals registering for this event, so we know there is a critical need for this information – not just among Extension professionals and state and federal agency staff who are using this information in their water resource management work, but also among municipalities, watershed groups, and interested citizens.”

The event is hosted by the Algal Bloom Action Team – a collaboration of water professionals, researchers, and educators from the national network of Water Resources Research Institutes, the North Central Region Water Network, and Cooperative Extensions from the 12 states in the North Central Region of the United States. The group was formed in 2018 to better share harmful algal bloom resources across states and create and compile applied harmful algal bloom outreach materials that can be used by water professionals when working with landowners, companies, and communities. The team has developed a series of factsheets and FAQs that educators can use in their outreach with communities, landowners, and producers, and hosts a bimonthly webinar series on a range of HAB research and educational topics.

“With so many people clamoring for information on how to prevent, treat, and mitigate harmful algal blooms, the Algal Bloom Action Team sees this as a key avenue for sharing the latest research and ensuring HABs education is widespread,” notes Weckle.

The free symposium will be held from 8:30 AM CT – 3:30 PM CT on Thursday, January 5th and from 8:30 AM CT to 12:00 PM CT on Friday, January 6th. Register to join us here .

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