FGCU Researcher Studies Airborne Toxins Produced by Blue-Green Algae

Mar 25, 2019

Harmful algal blooms like red tide and blue-green algae produce toxins that can be harmful to humans. This is known. What’s not known with certainty, is exactly how harmful they can be, and how far they’re able to travel through the air. Back in November a researcher from Florida Gulf Coast University, Dr. Mike Parsons, started collecting data on where the airborne toxins produced by the blue-green algae -- or cyanobacteria -- were showing up. His initial findings didn’t produce much clarity, so he broadened his data collection effort, and now he’s released new information that shows the toxins are capable of traveling more than a mile inland -- and this raises as many questions as it answers when it comes to possible health effects for people who were exposed to the airborne toxins. Dr. Parsons joins us to get the latest on his research, and what's next. He’s Professor of Marine Science at FGCU and Director of the university’s Coastal Watershed Institute and Vester Field Station.

We'll also learn more about the recently-announced Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University that will bring together experts from a wide variety of disciplines to try to tackle the wide variety of water-related issues we face here in Southwest Florida. We're joined in studio by Dr. Greg Tolley, Professor of Marine Science, Chair of the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, and Program Coordinator M.S. Environmental Sciences at FGCU.