|Cyanobacteria bloom. Copyright Michael R. Martin|
Scientists at the University of Georgia have launched a new lake monitoring effort called CyanoTRACKER, according to a release from the school. The work is funded by the National Science Foundation and will rely on crowdsourced data to spot lakes in Georgia at risk from harmful algal blooms.
Much of the data collection will rely on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that citizen scientists in the state can use to help identify blooms. Those online venues will complement current remote sensing efforts of cyanobacteria outbreaks in Georgia, as well as take advantage of cloud computing and modeling software to automate data processing and collection.
“The idea is to use citizen participation to capture the initiation of these harmful algal blooms, which can be very dangerous to humans and cattle and even pets,” said Deepak Mishra, associate professor of geography, in a statement. “The cyano bloom that affected communities around Lake Erie could happen here, so rapid continuous monitoring using community-driven, crowdsourcing, social network-triggered data capture is the idea. You can think of it as a neighborhood watch system for Georgia waters.”