Battling the Bloom


This post doesn’t have anything to do with my current trip in Europe, but while I muster the motivation to write something new, here is a link to an article I had published in UT’s Quest Magazine, spring 2014 edition.

During the Summer of 2013, I worked as an intern journalist for the University of Tennessee Microbiology Department. My first assignment was to write and design the departmental newsletter for 2013. (If you care about microbiology at all, you can get to that here). The second half of the job was to report on water quality research happening near Nanjing, China. There are many shallow freshwater lakes in this part of the country, and most of them are plagued by massive algal blooms every summer. These are bursts of unsustainable algal growth, fed by organic pollution from municipal waste and agricultural runoff. The algae disrupt the natural ecosystem and produce toxins that are harmful to animals and people. The article discusses the problem in more detail

My work involved assisting with field sampling and lab work, but most importantly conducting interviews and writing about the project. I got to speak with American and Chinese scientists, as well as Nanjing natives about their perspectives on pollution in China. I gained some really unique insight from this experience. Sitting in a tiny boat all day under 110-degree sun wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life, but it was worth it to be a part of cutting-edge scientific research happening on the other side of the world.

I have more articles related to this project that I may post on here in the future.

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More about pollution issues in China on Unweary Traveler – Lifting the Shroud

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