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UToledo researchers worry about November Lake Erie algal blooms


Lake Erie during summer algae blooms (WNWO file)
Lake Erie during summer algae blooms (WNWO file)
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Algal blooms are typically not an issue this time of year, but researchers are noticing unusual blooms on Lake Erie this November.

Toxic algae covered the lake this past summer and those problems could be returning.

"The bloom that we had this summer ended in late September, early October, but it was replaced by a different bloom of blue-green algae," said Thomas Bridgeman, a University of Toledo professor of ecology and director of the university's Lake Erie Center. "I don't think anybody around has seen a bloom this late into the summer."

Despite the changing of the seasons, the algae bloom started a month ago and has only grown since.

“The colder weather does kill off the algae, it did in the first bloom, but the second bloom seems to be a more cold-tolerant species.”

Despite this surprising late-year growth, Bridgeman does have good news.

"This second species of cyanobacteria doesn’t appear to be producing toxins so that's one thing that people can breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, it's more an eyesore than anything else."

Lake Erie may have a green tint this month, but there's no major reason to worry about your health.

"It's possible that the bright sunlight we've had this fall has influenced and expanded this secondary bloom."

Unless the area gets some cloudy days soon, the algae could be here to stay even longer.

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