Android App Would Predict Algae Bloom

Published: August 14, 2014

As part of a two-week summer course, an international team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, are developing an Android app that predicts when algae blooms are likely to occur on lakes and ponds.
Derek Riley, assistant professor of Computer Science at Parkside, said the ability to predict a bloom is important because algae blooms can release toxins in water sources that can make recreation in lakes and ponds unsafe. The app is designed to be easy enough to use for most anyone to be able to predict an algae bloom. 

Last week, toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie caused communities such as Toledo, Ohio, to restrict the use of tap water due to toxin levels that could cause sickness and neurological symptoms.  

International algae expert Dr. Hedda Sander from Ostfalia University is teaching the students about the biology of the algae, and leading sampling excursions to test the app. 

"The class is unique because we have biology, geoscience, and computer science students and faculty." Riley said. "The global aspect of the class gives students from our region and those from Germany the opportunity to work together. More than likely, that is exactly what they will experience someday in a professional research environment." 

Parkside and Ostfalia have been education partners for more than five years.  

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