Return of Slime (Tons and Tons of it!)
Martin Auer and Pengfei Xue in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are guiding a team of undergraduate and graduate students to get to the bottom of the slime (technically known as Cladophora, a green alga) that plagues the shoreline in Ajax, Ontario. They are doing a full evaluation of the eco-system to understand the sources of the phosphorous that causes the massive amounts of green alga to grow. Though the alga is not toxic to humans - it is 'gross and smells bad' according to a resident about the rotting alga that has made local beaches unusable. Some of the phosphorous sources include waste water treatment plants and other storm-water runoff, however a major contributor are the invasive mussel species that have invaded the lake. The City of Ajax is funding Dr. Auer and Dr. Xue to study the problem so that they can invest wisely in changes that will correct the problem.