A massive bloom of blue-green algae has hit four counties in Florida covering beaches along the Atlantic coast, damaging aquatic environments, impacting businesses and potentially causing health problems for the people and animals that come into contact with it. Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Lee, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.
FIU has the following experts available to discuss how algal blooms form, how they impact the environment, their potential human health impacts, and remediation.
Jose M. Eirin-Lopez
Marine Sciences Program, Department of Biological Sciences Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment and Biomolecular Sciences Institute
Jose M. Eirin-Lopez is an assistant professor of marine sciences in the Department of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on the effects of natural and human-made marine pollution, including algae and blue-green algae, on plants and animals. Eirin-Lopez is a researcher with FIU’s Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment, which brings together researchers from the fields of chemistry, ecology, engineering and computing, and public health to improve the understanding of environmental contamination in water resources and design remediation strategies. Eirin-Lopez can speak to the biology and physiology of blue-green algae, its impact on marine organisms, and its impact on human health. He has a Ph.D. from the University of A Coruna in Spain. Eirin-Lopez is fluent in Spanish.
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Kathleen Rein Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Kathleen Rein is a professor in the FIU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Her research focuses on algal toxins. As the director of FIU’s Advanced Research Cooperation in Environmental Health program, which was supported by a $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Rein helped to address a wide array of issues related to harmful algal blooms. She can speak to potential routes of exposure to algal toxins, their persistence in the environment, and their effects on human and animal health. Rein has a Ph.D. from the University of Miami.
Kevin O’Shea Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Kevin O’Shea is a professor in the FIU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Senior Associate Dean of the University Graduate School at FIU. He is a chemist with an interest in organic, environmental and analytical chemistry. His research is focused on the removal of harmful contaminants from water. His research projects have been funded from a variety of agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. O’Shea can speak to the biology of harmful algal blooms, associated toxins, and innovative water treatments. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California.
Ryan B. Stoa College of Law College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Ryan B. Stoa holds a joint appointment with FIU’s College of Law and the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. He is the co-director of the International Water Group of the Institute for Water and the Environment. Stoa’s scholarly interests are in the fields of environmental and natural resources law, including water resources law, ocean and coastal law, energy law, international environmental law, local government law, and natural disaster law. He is the co-director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at FIU and the co-founder of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate.
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