Grant to Study Phosphorous Sources Involved in Lake Erie Toxic Algal Blooms

The lab has been awarded its first sizable grant! As part of a collaborative effort with researchers from several other universities, we will be helping to determine sources of phosphorous involved in the recent occurrence of toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie (which made international headlines last summer by shutting down Toledo’s water supply). Specifically, we will be using stable isotopes of oxygen, within phosphate molecules, to trace sources of phosphate from algal blooms, to lake sediments or several key watersheds, up into specific sub-watersheds, and even to specific sources like particular waste-water treatment plants or farms that may be contributing. Moreover, we will determine hotspots of biological processing and removal of P from these watersheds. The grant is funded by the Ohio Board of Regents. In addition to money for sample processing, this means more funds for undergraduate and graduate student research assistantships!

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