Improving water quality


Ellen AlbrightEllen Albright joined Dr. Grace Wilkinson's lab this fall to explore water quality research. As a Wisconsin native, Albright always considered lakes and rivers important. Now she hopes her research will help improve water quality of fresh-water systems.

"I'm really interested in water quality, from both a research and management standpoint." ~ Ellen Albright

The Wilkinson Lab research focuses on algal blooms. Algal blooms often contain blue-green algae, which is toxic to the nervous system or liver. Even if there isn't blue-green algae present in an algal bloom, the bloom can change the chemistry of a lake. And when these blooms die, they often consume all available oxygen which leads to fish kills.

Albright's research will focus on the mechanistic links between phosphorous and harmful algal blooms. She will look specifically at internal sources of phosphorous. Nutrients can be stored in sediment and when the sediment is disturbed, those nutrients can be released back into the water.

"I think that lakes and rivers should be a resource to the people living near them. And water quality issues, especially algal blooms, can turn what should be a resource into a public health hazard. I hope that my work can help us better understand how to fix these issues." ~Ellen Albright

When Albright is not working on her research, you will likely find her outside. She enjoys fishing, and since moving to Ames, has been exploring the local bike and running paths.