Excess blooms of potentially toxic cyanobacteria are present in Roth Pond, according to a report released by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The floating scum caused by cyanobacteria can sometimes become a hazard to humans and pets alike, if toxic.
Cyanobacteria are found in both marine and freshwater and are commonly referred to as blue-green algae.
“Due to the identified presence of a blue-green algae bloom in Roth Pond, Stony Brook University Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) specialists are posting Blue-Green Algae Bloom advisory signs in several locations around the pond, as recommended by the New York State Department of Health,” Stony Brook Media Relations Officer Lauren Sheprow said in an email.
Not all species of cyanobacteria are toxic, the Suffolk County Government website states, but humans can be exposed to cyanobacteria by either skin contact or ingesting scum.
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences professor Christopher Gobler, who has studied toxic cyanobacteria in the area, said the algae are only a problem in the summer. The season provides the most favorable conditions for blooms to flourish.
“There are dozens of locations across Long Island and NYS with blue-green algae or cyanobacteria blooms right now,” Gobler said in an email. “They are typically a consequence of warm temperatures and high nutrient levels.”
These miniscule organisms are usually unearthed in low numbers. But with the right ingredients such as “sunlight, temperature, and nutrient concentrations,” the blooms can expand, the Suffolk County Government website states.
“The blooms will, in all likelihood, diminish as the fall semester commences,” Gobler said.
Environmental Health and Safety is working with Gobler to test the water and come up with a plan for dealing with the algae, Sheprow said.
“Roth Pond, a man-made pond, is not used for bathing or swimming,” Sheprow added. “Stony Brook has taken preventative measures to reduce and eliminate the algae, including diverting runoff, installing fountains to aerate water, and implementing a geese control program.”
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