When walking around campus this semester you may have noticed a change in the lakes, but it could be for the worse. The LSU Lakes surrounding campus have begun to develop algae blooms that are taking over the water and wildlife in the lakes.
For students on campus and residents living around campus, the lakes can be a refuge to sit and relax, taking in the scene, but in the past few months, the view has been nothing but green algae blooms.
Associate Dean of Academics andProfessor in the Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences Dr. Sibel Bargus Ates explains what exactly these blooms are.
“These microscopic algae, we also call them phytoplankton, they float in the water column and they are usually at the surface where they can take up the sunlight, and they can do exactly what the plants are doing," Ates said. "They can photosynthesize, and they provide carbon to hydrophilic levels.”
The blooms tend to occur every year when the weather becomes hotter, but this year researchers and caretakers of the lakes have looked into the harm that these blooms can have on the wildlife around and living in the lakes as well.
“With algae blooms, usually it’s a good thing because it provides carbon and energy to hydrophilic levels, but if this bloom persists, if it just keeps blooming and not dying off, then there are some negative consequences," Ates said. "Some of them are if the biomass so large, when they are dying, the bacteria that also lives in the water starts decomposing the organic matter. While they are doing that they are utilizing oxygen.”
Ates explained how the algae under the water used oxygen to grow, taking that away from the marine life in the lakes. Dr. Malinda Sutor talked more on one of the temporary solutions that LSU is taking to fix the algae.
“Definitely one thing BREC has proposed is bringing in Grass Carp which are infertile so they can’t reproduce, but they would mostly be eating aquatic vegetation,” Sutor said. “Not so much the phytoplankton or algae that are in the water column. That would certainly help with some of the Macrophytes we call them, the larger plants that are in the lakes. That’s one concrete thing I’ve seen.”
LSU is planning more permanent solutions to ensure the safety of our wildlife in the lakes.