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Journal of Great Lakes Research names UT algae expert’s paper as one of most highly cited

The Journal of Great Lakes Research identified a University of Toledo ecologist’s “high-quality research” on harmful algal blooms as one of its five most highly cited papers for nearly three years.

In 2013, the quarterly journal published the paper titled “A Novel Method for Tracking Western Lake Erie Microcystis Blooms, 2002-2011,” by Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, UT algae researcher and associate professor of ecology.

Dr. Thomas Bridgeman held a jar containing concentrated algae pulled up last spring from Lake Erie using the plankton net hanging on the side of the boat. In mid-May, the golden algae called diatoms is good for the lake, according to the researcher.

Dr. Thomas Bridgeman held a jar containing concentrated algae pulled up last spring from Lake Erie using the plankton net hanging on the side of the boat. In mid-May, the golden algae called diatoms is good for the lake, according to the researcher.

Bridgeman’s paper was cited 33 times between January 2014 and June 2016, according to Scopus Article Metrics. It ranks in the 98th percentile compared to aquatic science articles of the same age.

“It’s nice to know that other people are using your work and building on what you have done,” Bridgeman said. “Our goal is to advance the science and provide knowledge that ultimately benefits society, and I think my students and I did that here.”

Bridgeman and his students developed a new method to measure how much harmful algae there is in the lake over the course of the summer and compared the harmful algal bloom from one year to another. In the paper, Bridgeman included data on a decade of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie from 2002 to 2011.

“Other researchers are now using this method, and therefore cite our method when they publish their own studies,” Bridgeman said. “In addition, the annual records are extremely valuable for any researcher who is trying to understand how the health of the lake has been changing and what we need to do to get harmful algal blooms under control.”

“The widespread use of Dr. Bridgeman’s work demonstrates that UT research is integrated into the region,” said Dr. Tim Fisher, geology professor and chair of the UT Department of Environmental Sciences and interim director of the Lake Erie Center.

Bridgeman’s research was a major contribution to the development of models that directly link the size of the annual harmful algal bloom with the amount of spring and summer phosphorus discharge from the Maumee River.

“Several of my colleagues are pursuing this line of research now,” Bridgeman said. “Together, our findings helped to convince the U.S. and Canadian governments that we need to decrease phosphorus entering Lake Erie by about 40 percent in order to reduce harmful algal blooms to a level that we can live with.”