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Toxic Algal Blooms Are Worsening with Climate Change


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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

Every summer, vast blooms of harmful algae erupt in freshwater lakes across the United States. This year, blue-green mats of algae blanketed more than 1,500 square kilometers of Lake Erie’s surface by August; toxic algae forced officials to close New Jersey’s largest lake to recreational activities, and officials in North Carolina and Georgia warned dog owners to keep their pets out of the water after at least four dogs died after swimming in contaminated water.

Although these harmful algal blooms are not new to freshwater lakes, they do appear to be getting worse. But researchers weren’t certain whether freshwater blooms are actually intensifying or scientists are just paying closer attention. At the first U.S. Symposium on Harmful Algae in 2000, for example, marine blooms dominated the agenda; now, nearly half of the talks at the conference relate to freshwater blooms.


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