The University of Toledo | Conserving Coastlines

Conserving Coastlines

Protecting Ecosystems Threatened by Changing Climate

Located along the Great Lakes, water quality is a prominent research focus at UToledo where scientists, engineers, medical researchers and public health and legal experts collaborate to restore our greatest natural resource for future generations.

A man holding a measuring device in a body of water speckled with algea and other plant life.

Led by Michael Weintraub, Ph.D., professor of soil ecology, a team of UToledo scientists and students are examining shoreline vegetation, soil and hydrology in the Great Lakes as part of a U.S. Department of Energy project to test the resiliency of coastal ecosystems amid climate change. The $20 million COMPASS project, which stands for Coastal Observations, Mechanisms and Predictions Across Systems and Scales, aims to forecast the future of wetlands, uplands and ghost forests and their greenhouse gas emissions.

A woman holding a measuring device wrapped around a tree in an area full of tall grass.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) selected UToledo for its 2022 Public Impact Research Award recognizing the UToledo Water Task Force and its efforts to protect water quality and serve the community. The task force comprised of faculty researchers from diverse fields of study was formed in response to the city of Toledo’s “Do Not Drink” water advisory in 2014 during a toxic algal bloom.

A glass jar half-full of water that's tinted green with algae.

A new real-time algae sensor being tested inside a water treatment plant by Thomas Bridgeman, Ph.D., professor of ecology and director of the UToledo Lake Erie Center, could give utility managers immediate warning of toxins threatening the drinking water supply.

Two ecology researchers intently looking at research equipment.

A dozen years after one of the largest inland oil spills in the country, Josh Otten, Ph.D., confirmed through his doctoral research that rehabilitated turtles had long-term survival rates, verifying the value of helping animals after an environmental disaster. Otten, who graduated in May from UToledo with his doctorate in biology, monitored the wildlife following the ruptured Enbridge pipeline near Marshall, Mich., in July 2010.

A man sitting in a kayak on a body of water. He is using one hand to hold a turtle and using his other hand to work with a laptop.

The UToledo Lake Erie Center provides students hands-on opportunities to actively study harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie’s western basin. Students monitor eight water sampling stops covering 45 miles near Toledo’s water intake to sound the early warning if toxic algae is heading toward the source of the city's drinking water.

A woman on a boat in Lake Erie examining some water samples.

Tyler Stoner, an undergraduate student studying geology, tested Lake Erie water for E. coli bacteria at Maumee Bay State Park each weekday during the 2022 summer to determine whether the beach was safe to remain open. Tyler continued a practice of UToledo students measuring water quality at the beach for more than a decade.

A man standing in a shallow part of Lake Erie, holding a bottle and smiling at the camera. A man standing in a shallow part of Lake Erie, holding a bottle and smiling at the camera.

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Last Updated: 10/10/22