In 2021, our volunteers embarked on the 9th season of LakeForecast water quality monitoring. This work involved collecting nearshore condition reports at piers, beaches, parks, and access points around the five Yahara lakes. From May through September, volunteers took water quality measurements. They measured water clarity, recorded air and water temperature, identified the presence of green algae and cyanobacteria, and noted additional visual observations. Reports are entered into the LakeForecast app where all data are updated in real time.
Over the past decade, several advancements in harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring approaches and technologies have expanded scientists’ and regulators’ ability to monitor and study algal blooms. BloomOptix is a start-up focused on innovating how we monitor and study HABs by leveraging emerging technologies and methods. The company began in 2019, using advanced sensors and drone technologies to study HABs and water quality phenomena around New York State. In 2021, BloomOptix launched a new product which uses artificial intelligence and digital microscopy to identify and quantify HAB-causing cyanobacteria in water samples. This presentation will detail past and present BloomOptix projects including use of drones for HAB studies, artificial intelligence and how these technologies can help empower decision makers, safety personnel, and citizen scientists.
This past summer, Clean Lakes Alliance volunteers participated in this long-distance collaboration. Equipped with portable digital microscopes generously shipped all the way from London company Iolight, volunteers collected microscopic images of algae and cyanobacteria cells. These images are being used to train an AI mobile app to quickly differentiate between harmless green algae and toxin producing cyanobacteria.
Meet our Speaker
As an innovator within Ramboll, Igor Mrdjen is currently leading BloomOptix, a team focused on using technology to change how we monitor algal blooms. Through innovation, BloomOptix is developing an AI-assisted cyanobacteria monitoring tool, methods for drone-based hyperspectral and multispectral remote sensing of harmful algal blooms, sediment plumes and various factors impacting water quality, and introduced new technologies such as submersible ROVs to increase water work safety at Ramboll.
Igor has a widely interdisciplinary research background in Environmental Health Sciences. He has led, designed, and conducted research on various water quality and health phenomena including: microcystin toxicity and carcinogenicity in mammalian models; ecological and health impacts of harmful algal blooms; role of microplastics in toxicology; microbial source tracking of fecal contaminants; and development of novel remote sensing methods for imaging of terrestrial and aquatic phenomena.
This event will be held online via Zoom. The online talk is free and open to the public. A link to access the talk LIVE will be sent to all registered attendees ahead of the event.
New opportunities to learn about and help our lakes can arise unexpectedly. Such is the case when Madison Gas and Electric‘s Jeff Jaeckels reached out to Clean Lakes Alliance about a research group looking for volunteers to study the lakes in a novel way. Studying the lakes through artificial intelligence will allow Clean Lakes Alliance and our partners to better monitor and research harmful algal blooms.