Blue-green algae research

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Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, are capable of producing toxins that can cause illness and even death in low doses. Current methods for testing for these toxins are expensive, have a relatively high detection threshold, and are only able to quantify a single toxin currently present. Toxin amounts may change during test processing. Because of this, we are researching how to apply genetic technologies to dugouts. Genetic-based toxin tests are able to tell if a bloom is able to produce a toxin in the future, if a bloom is currently producing a toxin, and test for multiple toxins at once.

We are currently looking for dugouts to sample as part of our research. Our plan is to monitor two dugouts that regularly have blooms over the course of summer 2024. For these dugouts, lab members would go in person to perform sampling. Additionally, we would like to receive water samples from other dugouts via mail (materials for sampling will be supplied) for testing.

If you would like more information, email Laura Schnell at or call 306-337-2568.