November 21, 2017  

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GCRL to Host Dr. Hans Paerl for Grimes Distinguished Lecturer Series

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Dr. Hans W. Paerl

Dr. Hans W. Paerl, with the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver a guest lecture at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29 at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Miss.

Paerl’s presentation – the next lecture in the Jay and Bev Grimes Distinguished Lecturer series – is titled: “Harmful algal blooms in a human and climatically impacted world:  What's manageable and what's not?”

Coastal watersheds support nearly 75 percent of the world’s human population and they are experiencing unprecedented urban, agricultural and industrial expansion. These watersheds are also increasingly experiencing man-made nutrient pollution and a proliferation of harmful (toxic, food web disrupting, oxygen-removing) algal blooms (HABs).

HABs have negative impacts on higher plant and animal habitats as well as on animal and human health. For example, when winds aerosolize water containing HAB toxins humans and other animals can experience upper respiratory discomfort. Consumption of toxins can also lead to gastrointestinal problems and even liver disease.

Paerl, one of the world’s leading authorities on coastal HABs, has worked with numerous private and public lake and coastal managers and waterfront owners in search of solutions to their HAB problems. Perhaps most notable was his work with colleagues of the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, China in a large-scale effort to help save China’s third-largest lake, Taihu, from toxic blue-green algal (cyanobacterial) blooms that have rendered the lake unusable for drinking water supplies, fishing and recreational use for 20 million local residents and tourists.

He has also been involved in developing water quality management strategies for the San Francisco Bay Delta, the St John’s River System in Florida, North Carolina lake, river and estuarine systems, all of which are impacted by proliferating cyanobacterial blooms. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reports on freshwater and marine HAB issues and mitigation strategies.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Caylor Auditorium on the Halsted campus of the GCRL. For directions visit : http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/about_us/location.php