FGCU professor finds no toxins in Cape Coral algae blooms

Writer: Sommer Senne
Published: Updated:

Algae blooms are popping up in Southwest Florida.

The health department issued a warning about an algae bloom along the Killer Canal in Cape Coral.

Is the algae toxic blue-green algae?

WINK News took a sample of the water in Killer Canal and brought it to Dr. Barry Rosen at the Florida Gulf Coast University Water School for testing.

“I don’t see the evidence from this water sample,” said Rosen. “It looks like a filamentous green algae.”

Although we usually don’t see it, filamentous green algae is common and not toxic.

“The film, or the stuff that goes on at the bottom, traps gas, and the photosynthesis traps oxygen,” said Rosen. “Those mats break up off the bottom and float up.”

This algae might also keep us from seeing blue-green algae in the future.

“If you have a filamentous green algae that lasts long enough, they’ll be pulling the nutrients out the cyanobacteria blue-green algae need,” Rosen said. “It’s probably a good thing right now.”

The health department issued its alert pending testing.

“If you’re FDOH [Florida Department of Health], you kind of want to protect people, even if you don’t know what kind of algae it is,” Rosen said.

Rosen said the canal is OK for now, but officials should monitor it.

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