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Scientists look for clues to Lake Superior algae blooms

Scientists look for clues to Lake Superior algae blooms
August 24, 2021 Dan Kraker

By Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio

A couple weekends ago, Cody Sheik was at a friend’s wedding on Duluth’s Park Point, sipping champagne down on the Lake Superior beach, when he spotted something unusual in the normally crystal clear water.

“It was definitely a bloom,” he recalled. “It’s indescribable. Chalk-green, when it should be nice and clear.”

Sheik would know. He’s a microbiologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory who studies blue-green algae blooms. He snapped some pictures, but he didn’t have anything to take a sample.

Luckily, there are a lot of scientists who study lakes in Duluth. That same night, a mile down Park Point, Holly Wellard Kelly, an aquatic ecologist at UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute, spotted the bloom while swimming in the lake.

Read the rest of the story on MPR here.

Read Great Lakes Now‘s piece on Lake Superior’s algal bloom problem here.

Be sure to catch Great Lakes Now’s upcoming segment on Lake Superior’s blooms when it airs on Aug. 31. The segment was written and produced by MPR’s Dan Kraker. Watch the preview below:


Featured image: Lake Superior shore off Meyers Beach in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Great Lakes Now Episode 1027)

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