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FGCU Students Testing Solutions for Algae Blooms

Algae blooms are a hot topic this time of the year. They flood into our rivers, causing all kinds of issues to our water quality and to our health.

Students at Florida Gulf Coast University are working to find solutions. One of those solutions can be found in your standard first aid kit — hydrogen peroxide.

“With this hydrogen peroxide it can basically cause damage on a molecular level,” Dr. Michael Parsons, Professor of Marine Science, said. “On one hand, it can be damaging but on the other, if you have a tolerance to and you can produce it you can damage everyone around you, but you’ll be okay. And that gives you an advantage.“

They are also looking at what conditions lead to blooms so they can predict it.

“If we can forecast it a little bit and we can say everything is leading up to looks like we’re going to have a bloom next week or next month,” Dr. Parsons said. “Almost like a hurricane forecast. Then we can say ‘Okay what can we do? how can we prepare?’”

Getting a head start gives them time to test the different chemicals and how they affect algae blooms.

“Because you can treat a problem if it’s small enough,” he said. “As soon as it gets big the cost both in terms of money and environmental impact is just too much.“

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