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Advanced Studies Institute on Water Quality and Harmful Algal blooms in lake victoria, Kenya

 

2023 Program

2023 Program Specifics

Cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as blue-green algae, can grow to dense concentrations in lakes, rivers, ponds and reservoirs across the globe forming what are known as cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs; Figure 1; Bullerjahn et al., 2016).  Furthermore, many cyanoHABs can produce toxins that can sicken or kill humans, cattle and other domestic animals.  Indeed, in the last decade major cities in China, the United States, Africa and other parts of the globe have suffered from impaired drinking water due to cyanoHABs (Sitoki et al., 2012; Steffen et al., 2017). Also, many of these cyanoHABs are comprised of the same organism, Microcystis spp., which previous studies have determined to be the most ubiquitous cyanoHAB-forming genus (Harke et al., 2016), and currently it is unclear how Microcystis adjusts its ecological strategies to maintain dominance for long periods of time in lakes from temperate to tropical regions.  Therefore, it is critical to conduct parallel research in comparable lakes from different latitudes to further understand the global ecology of the bloom-forming cyanobacterium, Microcystis spp.

The proposed Advanced Studies Institutes (ASI) will focus on expanding the knowledge of water quality and the Microcystis-dominated cyanoHAB that occurs in Kisumu Bay, Nyanza Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya and provide the opportunity for US-based students to expand their research and collaborations into this regionally-important, yet understudied system.  The proposed ASI will leverage current research programs in western Lake Erie, led by Bowling Green State University, and in Kisumu Bay, led by Kisii University, Technical University of Kenya and the

PHOTO - Lake Erie HABs - 06242019 - NASA
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The lake is our carwash - Kisumu, Kenya

Left: Satellite image of the annual cyanobacterial (Microcystis spp.) bloom in Lake Erie, USA (Photo: NASA/NOAA). Center: View of Lake Taihu toxic cyanobacterial (Microcystis spp.) bloom during Sept, 2016 (Photo: T. Davis). Right: Microcystis spp. bloom along with daily activities in Kisumu Bay, Nyanza Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya (Photo: T. Lawrence).

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).  Western Lake Erie and Kisumu Bay are similar in that they are both shallow, eutrophic systems that experience Microcystis-dominated cyanoHABs.  However, they are different in that Lake Erie is a temperate system dominated by non-point nutrient sources, whereas Kisumu Bay is a tropical system that receives a mixture of point source (urban) and non-point source nutrient pollution. 

 

The proposed Advanced Studies Institute will focus on expanding the knowledge of water quality and the Microcystis-dominated cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) that occur in Kisumu Bay, Nyanza Gulf,  Lake Victoria, Kenya and provide the opportunity for US-based students to expand their research and collaborations into this regionally-important yet, understudied, system.  The proposed ASI will leverage current research programs in western Lake Erie, led by Bowling Green State University, and in Kisumu Bay, led by Kisii University, Technical University of Kenya and Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).

 

This program’s major component is to go into the field in Eastern Lake Victoria for field research so that students can gain field exposure (sampling techniques), laboratory exposure (sample assessment), expand global view, learn more about HABS, identify similarities and differences of various systems, and work with scientists and students with distinct and various views. In the spirit of scientific inquiry and growth, participants will be paired with a Kenyan counterpart during the field portion of this program and expected to work with that counterpart on subsequent activities, such as data processes, writing papers, and potentially presentations.

 

Please be mindful that this program, for some, will present uncommon and unconventional situations regarding culture, environment, and politics.

 

Applying to the 2023 program

To learn more about this program, its scope, and the facilitating organizations, please visit  our HABs homepage by clicking here.

I am a Kenyan interested

in the program

I am a U.S. Student interested

in the program

If you are a student studying freshwater cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs) (or closely related studies) on large freshwater lakes, we welcome you to apply to this program. Please carefully read the below. To see a desription of the program and determine if you meet the criteria, please click on the appropriate application link. 

 

2023 Participants

Participants will be chosen and listed here during Fall of 2022.