Interactive Sessions - Kids' Tech University (KTU) at BGSU    
Dr. W. Robert MiddenFebruary 06, 2016
Blue Water or Green Muck: Solving One of Ohio's Most Urgent Environmental and Economic Challenges - Harmful Algal Bloom

An interactive session led by Dr. W. Robert Midden

Faculty member in the BGSU Chemistry Department

August 2, 2014 more than 400,000 were told not to use the water coming from their taps in the City of Toledo and the surrounding area because it contained a poison produced by cyanobacteria in Lake Erie. The summer of 2011 these cyanobacteria overwhelmed the western end of Lake Erie threatening what some estimate to be $11 billion of economic activity related to tourism, recreation, and fishing. The summer of 2010 the largest inland lake in Ohio, Grand Lake Saint Marys, was completely devastated by a large bloom of harmful cyanobacteria. The Ohio EPA warned people not to have any contact with the water, even boating. Many other lakes and some rivers in Ohio are experiencing similar major problems. In this session you will learn about the nature of this problem, the organisms that cause it, and the factors that are currently believed to account for it. You will be challenged to help design strategies and practices that can mitigate this problem and restore the health of Lake Erie so that not only your generation, but many others in the future can continue to fully enjoy our wonderful water resources.

Dr. W. Robert Midden, a faculty member in the BGSU Chemistry Department, earned a PhD in biochemistry from the Ohio State University in 1978, and began his career in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University where he helped start a new PhD program in Environmental Chemistry. He came to BGSU in 1987 to join a team building the new PhD program in photochemical sciences and establishing BGSU as a national leader in photochemical sciences research. Since then his research interests have shifted from bioorganic photochemistry to finding ways to reform education at all levels and to investigating water quality problems in Northwest Ohio. The recipient of more than $20 million in grants from federal and state agencies and private foundations, he has led multiple intercollegiate teams in efforts to improve K-12 as well as undergraduate and graduate instruction in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). His current scientific research is aimed at developing the most cost effective strategies for reducing the harmful algal blooms that are threatening the economy and environment, not only of Ohio, but in many other locations around the country and across the globe. Dr. Midden currently has 15 students in his research team and is pursuing two projects funded by the State of Ohio devoted to identifying the greatest local sources of phosphorus and nitrogen which drive formation of harmful algal blooms, and to developing a method for converting manure from intense animal agriculture into a slow release fertilizer.

February 2016 - Hands-On Exhibits
After the interactive session the students will be escorted by their parents to have lunch and then to the hands-on portion of the event. There the students will enjoy the experience of interacting with various exhibits from the Bowling Green State University community.