WWU biologist to give lecture on algae in Birch Bay

Birch Bay residents concerned about the algal blooms in the bay can attend a free public seminar on Thursday, July 30.

Dr. Robin Kodner, assistant professor of biology at Western Washington University, will give a speech at Birch Bay Bible Community Church from 7 to 8 p.m. on July 30. Kodner will discuss the types of algae that are common in the area, the typical life cycles of algae, a history of harmful algal blooms and how climate change may be affecting algae populations.

Whatcom Watersheds Information Network, Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee and the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management District (BBWARM) are sponsoring the program.

Ingrid Enschede, director of BBWARM, said her department fields a lot of questions from concerned Birch Bay residents and visitors about algal blooms. The thick green algae that grows in the tide flats can pile up on beaches, allowing unpleasant-smelling purple sulfur bacteria to grow. Although marine algal blooms are common, large blooms can be harmful to shellfish. Marine biotoxins like red tide can develop in stagnant algal blooms, infecting shellfish with bacteria that are poisonous to humans.

For more information on the seminar, visit bbwarm.whatcomcounty.org.

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