OSU president impressed with work of students at Stone Lab

The Stone Lab research facility on Gilbrater Island provides students with a hands-on approach to solving environmental issues. (Jim Nelson/WNWO).

Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake toured the school's Stone Lab research facility Tuesday in Put-in-Bay.

"It's really impactful, really important," he said of the work.

For more than a century, the facility has focused on freshwater biology research, science education and outreach.

It has been part of OSU since 1925.

Student researches work take classes and work throughout the summer, trying to get the bottom of Lake Erie's environmental issues like invasive species, nutrient deficiencies and harmful algal blooms.

"It's a hot spot for a very important issue right now," said Bailey Lucas, an OSU junior-to-be.

Through testing, Stone Lab students, staff and faculty monitor the lake's conditions.

As of late Tuesday, the lake is considered clean, in terms of blue green algae levels.

But most of the work being done is about the long-term.

In 2014, after the Toledo water crisis, Ohio State University and the University of Toledo took the lead on the new Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative.

Researchers say they've generally been able to figure out how and why the algae forms, but they've yet to pinpoint exactly why some algae becomes highly toxic and some does not.

Drake, who was visiting the facility for the first time on Tuesday, said he was impressed with the hands-on approach.

"We attempt to learn things about the way the world works and try to apply what we know to make the world even better," he said the university's research objectives.

And the responsibility is not lost on the students.

"I feel like they do feel a sense of pride in doing what they're doing and trying to help find solutions to major problems on the lake," said Josh Hug, another OSU junior.

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