Academic Venture Fund - 2018

The Role of Nitrogen in Toxic Blooms in the Finger Lakes

Nicholas Aumen, USGS - Cyanobacterial bloomwhich occurred in 2016 on Lake Okeechobee, Florida.

Toxic cyanobacteria blooms are increasing globally. Since 2015, several Finger Lakes have experienced blooms for the first time, threatening lake health and sustainable use for drinking water and recreation. These blooms were unexpected because stringent phosphorus standards were established years ago to protect water quality in some of the now-affected lakes. Researchers aim to confirm a new ecological theory that suggests high nitrogen inputs--spurred by a changing climate--may be the cause, a finding that could lead to new watershed management strategies and an added emphasis on the relationship with climate variability.

[This project is partly sponsored by Cornell's Master of Public Health (MPH)--an interdisciplinary program using a One Health approach.]

Investigators: Bob Howarth, Roxanne Marino, Todd Walter