FlowCAM system speeds blue-green algae detection in Alberta lakes

By on June 25, 2013
Lake Louise in Alberta (Credit: Benefactor123, Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers at the University of Alberta are adopting new technologies to help detect algal blooms in Alberta’s lakes more efficiently, the Edmonton Journal has reported.

FlowCAM is a $100,000 system that is able to evaluate water samples quickly, take color images, analyze water particles and categorize various organisms from an electronic library.

FlowCAM allows researchers to detect harmful blue-green algal blooms much faster than traditional measures. In the past, scientists had to spend hours analyzing samples under a light microscope to find evidence of tiny cells linked to algal blooms.

The project has the potential to help protect Alberta’s citizens from the hazards of blue-green algae in their lakes. The toxic algae has been linked to skin irritation, sore throats and eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and diarrhea.

Image: Lake Louise in Alberta (Credit: Benefactor123, Wikimedia Commons)

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