Lake Erie Water Resources – NASA DEVELOP Spring 2017 @ NASA Ames Research Center

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[water sounds] [music] >>JUAN: Well with this DEVELOP Project, we’reworking in collaboration with Glenn Research Center and also NOAA GLERL which stands forGreat Lakes Environmental Research Lab and we’re using in-situ data provided by thembut also hyper spectral imagery to work on and study the impacts of algal blooms in LakeErie.

>>JOHN: An algal bloom is a fast growing colonyof algal growing in an aquatic system.

Algal blooms can occur naturally but are becomingexasperated by human activities.

These colonies of algae can produce toxinsthat negatively affect people or animals and are known as Harmful Algal Blooms.

>>JUAN: Lake Erie, particularly in the pastfew years, has had a lot of problems with algal blooms and water quality.

In Toledo, for instance, in 2014 they hadto shut down the water supply to their citizens for a few days because of the impacts of thesealgal blooms.

>>JOHN: Harmful algal blooms, found in LakeErie, are primarily composed of cyanobacteria.

>>JUAN: So in Lake Erie, particularly thecyanobacteria that affects the lake is one that is called microcystis and microcystisproduces a toxin that is called microcystin and this toxin is a hepatotoxin which meansthat it attacks particularly the liver in mammals.

So the advantage of using hyper spectral imageryversus using multispectral imagery is that, for instance, these organisms of cyanobacteriahave a pigment called phycocyanin that absorbs around the 600 nanometer wavelength, thatis within the red area of the visible spectrum.

Now with hyper spectral imagery we can aimat particular wavelengths where this pigment absorbs in that region and we can actuallyuse them to separate from other pigments that you can find in the water like chlorophyllpigments >>Jeff: Remote sensing can be able to detectthese algal blooms before they reach water intake pipes or the data we use from remotesensing can be used to generate predictive models for predicting when harmful algal bloomscan occur.

The more we can use remote sensing to informthese management decisions the better.

>>Rachel: The DEVELOP team produced a comparativeanalysis to weigh the effectiveness of each sensor for monitoring microcystin productionin the lake.

The results of this study were shared withthe Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Kent State University.

Further understanding of these dynamic eventswill aid in the prediction and preparedness for future blooms.