When Green Goes Bad: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Better Understand Cyanobacteria, Nutrients, and Lakes

The current connotation within the environmental protection arena is that “Green is Good.” While that is very often true, in the case of lakes and ponds when they suddenly go green, it is most likely the result of an algae bloom which, increasingly, contain many harmful species. The impacts of these harmful algal blooms are wide and profound. From acute adverse human health impacts (e.g. respiratory and gastrointestinal problems) to known deaths of animals (e.g. elk herds and family pets), blooms like these are becoming a more frequent occurrence and are having larger and larger impacts. To better understand how these blooms impact human health, identify the toxicity of cyanotoxins, predict the probability of bloom occurrence and share this information broadly, researchers within the US EPA’s Office of Research and Development have been working on a research project focused on cyanobacteria since 2012. This webinar provided an overview of the full breadth of this research and also go into details on the ecological modeling of cyanobacterial bloom in US Lakes and explained how this project has embraced the concept of Open Science to improve the dissemination of research results, methods, and data.

Presented by Dr. Jeff Hollister, Dr. Betty Kreakie, and Dr. Bryan Milstead

Jeff Hollister

Jeff Hollister is a research ecologist with the US EPA's Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett, RI. He received his PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island. His past experience is in applications of geospatial technologies to environmental research and broad scale environmental monitoring, modeling, and assessment. His current research is focused on how nutrients drive risk of cyanobacterial blooms in lakes and ponds. 

Betty Kreakie

Betty Kreakie is a research ecologist for the US EPA's Office of Research and Development in Narragansett, RI. Betty earned her PhD in integrative biology from the University of Texas. Her work focuses on development of spatially-explicit landscape level models that predict how biological populations and communities will respond to anthropogenic influences such as nutrient and contaminant inputs, climate change, and habitat conversion. 

Bryan Milstead

Bryan Milstead is a post-doctoral research ecologist with the US EPA, stationed at the Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett, RI. He received his PhD from Northern Illinois University for work on small mammal population dynamics in Chile. Previously he worked for the US National Park Service as an Inventory Monitoring Specialist and for the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. His current work focuses on understanding how nutrient over-enrichment affects the aesthetic quality and risk of cyanobacteria blooms in lakes.