NEMO's new mission: Find toxic algae blooms

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By MEHAK BANSIL
Capital News Service
LANSING—If it looks like a fish and swims like a fish, then it must be a fish. Unless it’s a pseudo-fish named NEMO, designed to monitor water temperature, oxygen levels, invasive algae populations and pollutants. For example, a robofish will be able to navigate independently and transmit information about the location of toxic algae blooms.
“We chose to fit these fish with sensors for toxic algae blooms, but I think other researchers will use this technology in the future to monitor different aspects of water quality,” Michigan State University zoology Professor Elena Litchman said. According to Litchman, excess nutrients and warmer temperatures create an ideal growth environment for algae, which release toxins that are dangerous to other aquatic organisms and humans. “Although it’s hard to remove these blooms, knowing where they are allows us to warn people not to go in those areas,” Litchman said.