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U of Toledo experts available to discuss toxic algae in Lake Erie

Experts at The University of Toledo are available to discuss the harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie that lead to the toxin microcystin entering Toledo drinking water.

The University’s Lake Erie Center, located on Maumee Bay in the western Lake Erie, is a leader in the study of the Great Lake. The interdisciplinary research and education center is dedicated to solving environmental problems at the land-water interface and bay-lake exchanges in the Great Lakes. Experts in ecology, geography, fisheries genetics and more collaborate through the center.

While the City of Toledo has lifted the ban on drinking tap water, concerns about the harmful algae in Lake Erie remain.

Experts available to discuss the issue include:

Kenneth Kilbert, JD, law professor and director of the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes. Kilbert is an expert in environmental and natural resources law who leads the multidisciplinary research center in the college that hosts an annual Great Lakes Water Conference, the topic of which in 2013 was “Algae: A Blooming Problem in the Great Lakes and Beyond.” According to Kilbert, there are not strict enough laws and regulations to reduce phosphorus entering the watershed and causing the algal blooms.

Isabel Escobar, PhD, professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. Escobar is a widely consulted expert in water treatment and desalination membrane technology. According to Escobar, the algal bloom in western Lake Erie is thriving due to all the nutrients flowing in the river, however there are different types of water filtration that could remove them.

Patrick Lawrence, PhD, professor and chairman of Geography and Planning. Lawrence is an expert in water quality and watershed management who recently led an extensive restoration project of the Ottawa River that flows through campus and empties into Lake Erie.

Carol Stepien, PhD, UT Distinguished Professor of Ecology and director of the UT Lake Erie Center. Her research area of expertise is invasive species and she is the director of the Lake Erie Center’s Great Lakes Genetics/Genomics Laboratory.

Contact Meghan Cunningham in the UT Office of University Communications to interview these and other experts at 419.530.2410 (office), 419.350.3879 (cell) or

Media Coverage
The Blade (Aug. 4, 2014)
WSJ Live (Aug. 4, 2014)
13 ABC (Aug. 4, 2014)
13 ABC (Aug. 4, 2014)
CBS Evening News (Aug. 5, 2014)
Al Jazeera America (Aug. 6, 2014)
FOX Toledo (Aug. 8, 2014)
Al Jazeera America (Aug. 8, 2014)
Conklin & Company (Aug. 12, 2014)
The Blade (Aug. 18, 2014)
13 ABC (Aug. 19, 2014)
13 ABC (Aug. 25, 2014)

is UT's Director of University Communications. Contact her at 419.530.2410 or
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