Lake Superior State University
Development of novel toxin detection methodologies applicable to marine and freshwater systems
Judy Westrick, Ph.D.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are comprised of several genera, with each species containing toxic and non-toxic strains. Advances in molecular techniques have facilitated the first steps towards a deeper understanding of these complex events, but previous studies generally focused on a single organism. Researchers at Lake Superior State University are developing a flexible real-time multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay for the simultaneous quantification of co-occurring toxic HAB genera. This new approach will further the understanding of the environmental factors promoting these toxic algae and provide information needed to develop successful predictive models and algal remediation strategies. It will also significantly improve the integration of HAB activities into existing state and federal monitoring and observational programs.