Students Explore Pathogen Pollution in Our Waters and the Beauty of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta

Saraland High School students and teacher, Ms. Maulucci, stop for a photo after their boat tour of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Photo Credit: Carolina Ruiz

On April 26, 2022, students from Saraland High School participated in the 4-H Alabama Water Watch Student Project Forum held at Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort, AL.

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Red Algal Citizen Science – A Search For Alabama’s Unknown Red Algal Biodiversity

Tufts of the freshwater red alga Paralemanea near the Easley Covered Bridge near Oneonta, Alabama. Photo Credit: Stacy Krueger-Hadfield

There is incredible biodiversity in the state of Alabama – including freshwater snails, mussels, fish, and turtles. However, much of our biodiversity remains enigmatic. One group of organisms we lack critical information about are freshwater red macroalgae. Though rarely truly red in color, they provide food and habitat for macroinvertebrates and may serve as indicators of good water quality. However, they are not included in current biodiversity surveys in Alabama. To better understand the ecological role and potential usefulness of these algae as bioindicators, we first need to figure out where to find them.

This is where Alabama Water Watch monitors come in! We are asking for your help in identifying potential freshwater red algal habitat by taking photos of freshwater streams including your monitoring sites. The Krueger-Hadfield Lab will examine the photographs to assess whether they may provide good freshwater red habitat and to determine if they should be included in their surveys. In the future, they plan to provide training and supplies for interested AWW monitors to collect and send algal samples to the Krueger-Hadfield Lab at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

A step-by-step video on how to submit your site photos to the Red Alga Citizen Science from the University of Birmingham’s Krueger-Hadfield Lab. Video Credit: Alabama Water Watch

How to submit your photo:

  1. Take a HORIZONTAL photo of your waterbody (this does not have to be your AWW monitoring site), from the middle of the waterbody of possible, or from the bank
  2. If riffles (areas of fast-moving water over rock or woody debris) are present, include them in your photo
  3. Go to the Red Algal Citizen Science Google Form
  4. Fill out your contact information, upload your photo(s), include GPS coordinates (when possible), add a site description, and submit!


Q: Do you have to be an AWW Volunteer Monitor to participate?

A: NO! Anyone can participate!

Q: What if I see something that looks like red algae at the waterbody?

A: Take a photo and submit that in the Red Algal Citizen Science Google Form at the same time as your site photo.

Q: Do I have to return the waterbody to take another photo at a later date? (i.e. next month, next year)

A: No, one photo is enough for now. The Krueger-Hadfield lab will get in touch with you if they are interested in a follow-up photo of your site.

Q: Can I submit a photo of any freshwater stream?

A: Yes! Any flowing freshwater stream will be appropriate for this project.

If you’d like to learn more about freshwater red algae and the Red Algal Citizen Science Project at UAB, view the 3-1-2022 webinar recording, “Red Algal Citizen Science: A Search for Alabama’s Unknown Red Algal Biodiversity“.

April is Citizen Science Month!

Citizen scientists conduct water chemistry tests on an Alabama stream.
Photo Credit: Mona Dominguez

Have you heard people buzzing about citizen science lately? Did you know April is Citizen Science Month?! It seems that over the last few years, this term has been popping up everywhere. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, citizen science is “scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions.” We also refer to this concept as community-science.; however, this is not a new phenomenon.

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AWW Training Recaps: February in Auburn & Camp McDowell in March 

Newly certified Water Chemistry Monitors pose after their Field Day in Town Creek Park, Auburn, Alabama.
Photo Credit: Sydney Zinner

After two years of not being able to easily and safely train new monitors, AWW has been off to the races in 2022!  AWW staff recently led two hybrid AWW monitoring trainings that included self-paced, online courses and finished with an in-person field day. We have been very pleased with the new format. What began as a response to the pandemic is turning out to be a great fit for the program. We hope COVID is on its way out, but the new training model won’t go away.

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