Last summer, the public swimming area was closed for a month at Lake Wingra on account of cyanobacteria. These bacteria are not only smelly, but some can produce toxins that attack the liver or nervous system. Some researchers even say that these bacteria can be linked to liver cancer. One problem in studying this has been that few lakes have adequate historical records of cyanobacteria over time.
Cyanobacteria has not just been an issue in the recent past for Lake Wingra and other area Lakes. UW Madison researchers have now discovered that this bacteria is actually traceable back over 50 years. A modified kind of mud testing of the lake-bottom has shown Cyanobacteria DNA presence has risen over time as the climate has become warmer. This will be a way for many other lakes to be investigated as well.
See the full story released by UW News. For further reading on climate change, see our topical readings lists.
Lake Wingra photo Courtesy of UW Limnology Department.