A grant made through The Community Foundation funds the Ocean Research and Conservation Association’s (ORCA) initial study of the transfer of toxins from the Indian River Lagoon to humans and animals. ORCA, the nation’s first technology-based marine conservation association, works to protect and restore the aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through innovative technologies, science-based conservation action, community education and outreach.
THE PROBLEM WITH BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BLOOMS
- An excess of nutrients introduced into freshwater ecosystems has resulted in blooms of cyanobacteria, also referred to as blue-green algae, across the state of Florida.
- Some species of cyanobacteria produce toxins (cyanotoxins) can damage the nervous system or the liver.
- Routes of exposure to cyanotoxins include skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion.
- Microcystin is the most toxic form produced by cyanobacteria and the most common.
- The Indian River Lagoon is home to 2098 plant species and 2117 animal species.
ORCA’s research is focused on how – and to what extent – microcystin from our local waters is impacting the health of humans and animals.
“To avert a crisis, we need to educate people on how they can be part of the solution.”
Edie Widder, Ph.D.
Founder, Ocean Research and Conservation Association