Lakes, poisonous algae and paleo-what? – Suzanne Mcgowan – 19/03/12

19th March 2012

Algal Bloom 1Algal Bloom 1

The Science Show is back! After being taken over by the University of Nottingham’s Student Union Elections last week (it’s a bit like the Oscars, but the red carpet is stickier, the drinks taste more dubious, and instead of Sir Elton John’s after-party, everyone goes to Ocean) we have returned, and apparently we’re more colourful than ever. (Just look at some of these pictures!)

Today we’re talking to Suzanne Mcgowan from the geography department here at the University of Nottingham about her research into paleolimnology.

Paleo-what I hear you say?

Paleolimnology. It’s the history of freshwater lakes, and it helps us determine how our landscape was formed. It also helps solve problems such as that caused by blue-green algae during algal blooms. Lake Windermere saw a large algal bloom which caused a lot of problems to the surrounding life, as often they can be dangerous, even though they look rather spectacular (see our pictures).

Algal Bloom 2Algal Bloom 2

We’ll be asking – are these a man-made phenomena? Can we do anything to stop these events from happening again? And just how much time does Suzanne spend walking through lakes? Tune in from 6-7pm tonight (Monday 19th March) to find out.

Algal Bloom 3Algal Bloom 3

In our student science lab this week, by popular demand, Carl and George have been playing with liquid nitrogen. They’ll be showing you how you can save space in your house by simply popping your belongings into liquid nitrogen. As you do.

We’ll also be reviewing some of this week’s science in the news, which this week includes the case of the regenerating bear… Dave will be happy. He loves bears.

A Universal Coring Device is used to remove lake coresA Universal Coring Device is used to remove lake cores

Suzanne uses corers to remove sediment from lake beds, it is somewhat like a apple corer in that it cuts through the sediment, but you need to bung the end when pulling it up. Of course that means you bring the water up as well so you have to drain that off first before you can do any work with the core.

Click the image on the left (courtesy of Missy Holzer’s journal blog found here: click to find out more!)

Student Science!

This week we let Carl and George play with liquid nitrogen! Watch on to see what happened..:

Lake BaikalLake Baikal

Lake Baikal is in Russia and is the deepest and among the clearest of all lakes in the world, it reaches a depth of 1,642 metres! Suzanne is collaborating with University College London and heading there next year to look at the pollution levels.

As the deepest lake in the world, it’s somewhat hard to get to the bottom obviously, however they can head out there when it’s icey with a large winch instead of using a boat.

Science in the News!

Today we’re talking about:
Europe’s commitment to Mars Missions, if you want to know why this is important. Dave suggests watching this video:
Magic bear healing – awesome! (Dave told me to write that).
Closure for neutrinos, Einstein rests easy.