Long-term Study of Cyanobacteria by COLSA Biologists Helps Keep Swimmers Safe

Long-term Study of Cyanobacteria by COLSA Biologists Helps Keep Swimmers Safe

Nov 14, 2012

College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) biologist Jim Haney and his team of researchers have been conducting research for the past decade to learn what effects cyanobacteria and its toxins may have on human health through water and the food web.

Cyanobacteria is responsible for the blue green scum sometimes seen on ponds and other bodies of water. The toxins it produces may have a range of health effects, including gastroenteritis, tumors and cancer of the liver, neurological disease, seizures, or even death. 

Long-term research is necessary to learn how these bacteria contribute to the ecosystem and to determine if and how cyanobacteria toxins get outside of the water body and into people. In the short-term, knowledge already gained from Haney's research is used by the Department of Environmental Services to decide when to restrict swimming in NH ponds and lakes.

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