Oranges used to track lake algae

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Researchers are using fruit to track blue-green algae blooms in Lake Champlain.

On Monday they released 200 oranges in Missisquoi Bay to determine where the wind and currents steer them.

They want to know if the algae in the bay flow south and form other blooms nearby.

And they want the public’s help. Anyone spotting a floating orange in the lake this week is asked to call the research team at the state University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry at 518-564-3038.

“We’re trying to track the water flow in and out of the bay. This summer is especially important, since they will be removing part of the causeway soon, and we’d like to see how that affects movement,” said technician and master’s degree candidate, Sean Thomas.

A new bridge opened across the bay last month meaning part of the old causeway between Swanton and Alburgh will be removed.

Algae blooms have been spotted in northern parts of the lake although none have been found this summer.

Some varieties of blue-green algae produce dangerous toxins that killed at least two dogs died several years ago.

Last year, researchers dumped 50 oranges in the lake, and two were spotted on the Quebec shore.

Thomas said he hopes this year’s research will be more fruitful.

“We ramped up the number of oranges, hoping that will improve our chances. Then we’re going to station people at the mouth of the bay in a day or two to look for ourselves,” he said.



Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

AP-ES-07-30-07 1220EDT

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