This past week PhD student Haley Plaas and intern Madison Sholes deployed PurpleAir Sensors at pre-established sites along the Chowan River, where Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (CHABs) are known to occur. In recent years, communities in northeastern North Carolina surrounding the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound have faced degraded water and air quality tied to a suite of environmental issues, including increased incidences of toxin-producing harmful algal blooms. Previous work done by Plaas et al. found that several aquatic cyanobacterial genera were detected in sampled particulate matter (PM), including two toxin-producing strains, Dolichospermum and Microcystis. These findings suggested a need for further research on the link between HABs and HAPs, i.e., the presence of Harmful Air Pollutants, in this region. The goal of this project is to investigate the association between indicators of CHABs and corresponding PM mass concentrations via the deployment of several PurpleAir sensors throughout the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound basin.

Haley and Madison deploying sensors in the field:


Photos taken by: Tom Brennan