Popular Science

A lake full of algae will wreck more than your summer swimming plans

Algae blooms in lakes and oceans generate pollution that harms people, pets, and the planet.
Algae bloom in Lake Erie, September 2017.

Algae bloom in Lake Erie, September 2017.

NOAA

Aquatic ecologist John A. Downing happily remembers childhood holidays at his family’s vacation home at Wabana Lake, near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The lake was upstream “from almost everything,” making it difficult for pollution to reach it, he said. But some eventually got there anyway. “It’s still beautiful, but somewhat greener around the edges,” he said. “I have been diving in these lakes since I was 9 years old, and as I get older, I notice there are more frequent surface algae blooms.”

for lakes, rivers, streams, and seas around the world. Farmers use fertilizer to grow, are also nurturing the growth of algae.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science3 min read
High Speeds And Low Altitudes Rule At Reno's Annual Airplane Races
On Saturday, I stood in the high, hot, dusty, dry desert of Nevada and watched small jets zoom past a pylon on a hill at low altitude as they flew their way through a race course in the sky. If you’ve ever watched stock cars compete around a track, y
Popular Science2 min read
Three Classic Skateboards For Beginners
You don't need to be Tony Hawke to enjoy skateboarding, and you don't need to be a tween to have a ton of fun getting started. If you're at all self-conscious, you may feel better knowing you can get some great gear without stepping into a skate shop
Popular Science11 min read
23 Ways Alcohol Could Save Your Life
For more than 200 years, American bourbon has spread from its birthplace in the mountains of Kentucky throughout the country and beyond. Though the details of this liquor’s origin story are often conflicting, original bourbon distillers were likely S