Denise Bruesewitz, assistant professor of environmental studies, is the team leader on a collaborative study of algae in freshwater Maine lakes as part of a project titled “Understanding Cyanobacterial Blooms in Lakes: Plankton N Cycling and Detection of Cyanobacterial Blooms Across a Gradient of Lake Trophic State.” Bruesewitz and Colby are teaming up with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences on the study, which is sponsored by the Maine Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI), a program administered by the Department of Interior and U.S. Geological Survey. The Maine WRRI is under the aegis of the University of Maine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions.

Miselis Professor of Chemistry Whitney King and Bigelow Laboratory Senior Research Scientist Peter Countway are the other team members. Colby students working on the project are Harriet Rothschild ’16, Brian Kim ’18, and Rebecca Chmiel ’17. Chmiel will work directly with Countway at Bigelow Laboratory on genetics and toxins.

One of three 2015 WRRI projects in Maine, it “incorporates cutting-edge microbial genetics and characterization of cyanobacteria blooms, with a focus on Gloeotrichia echinulata, alongside dynamic metrics of nitrogen (N) cycling by lake phytoplankton and bacteria,” according to the Mitchell Center’s website. “This suite of measurements will be taken across a gradient of low nutrient to high nutrient lakes through the ice-free season in the Belgrade Lakes catchment to better understand the role ecosystem N dynamics and microbial community composition may play in the development of cyanobacterial blooms.”

Read more on the project.