Clean Lakes Alliance’s LakeForecast water quality monitoring program completed its 11th season in 2023. This program is entirely volunteer implemented, with 90 trained monitors assessing water quality conditions from nearshore and offshore locations across all five Yahara lakes (Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa, and Kegonsa). From Memorial Day through Labor Day, volunteers recorded water clarity, air and water temperature, waterfowl presence, extent of floating plant debris, and the severity of green algae and cyanobacteria at public beaches, lakeside parks, and private piers. Submitted data can be seen in real-time on lakeforecast.org or our free app allowing the general public to stay up to date on current lake conditions.
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.
All five Yahara lakes saw cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms throughout the summer of 2019. One bloom in particular on Lake Mendota was quite large, covering at least an area from Picnic Point to the Memorial Union on August 1st. The bloom was well-documented by photos from community members as having a green pea soup-like consistency.
Cyanobacteria blooms are often bright green, but can also appear in shades of brown, blue, and white. Typically, blooms are spotted on warm days with calm winds. On August 1st, Madison reported a high of 81 degrees with an average wind speed of two miles per hour.