Biological Sciences: Integrative and Organismal Biology - MS
Research Topic: Lake Water and Aerosols as Pathways for Cyanobacteria Toxins from Lakes to Food Plants
My research focuses on the transfer of cyanobacteria toxins from lakes to food plants via direct exposure to lake water at the roots as well as indirect indirect exposure via aerosolized toxins deposited on plant surfaces. Specifically, I am focusing on the cyanobacteria toxin Microcystin, a potent liver toxin that has also been implicated in tumor formation. My main study was conducted on Lake Attitash in Amesbury, Mass in 2016. Lake Attitash is a eutrophic lake known to experience low to moderate levels of cyanobacteria growth. As many crops and backyard vegetable gardens are grown in close proximity to, and watered with, lakes and ponds that have at least some cyanobacteria growth, it is important to understand the dynamics of how we can be exposed to the toxins they produce.