TEL AVIV – Stop to smell the flowers, or at least to listen — to the algae bloom, that is. In an age of talking heads, scientists in Israel are lending an ear to plants. Sending a laser to bits of algae growing in bodies of water, they can detect through returned sound waves the type and extent of pollution from which the water suffers.
Zvy Dubinsky, an aquatic biologist at Israel’s Bar Ilan University, explains to Reuters that “algae is the first thing to be affected by a change in water quality.”
“Algae suffering from lead poisoning, like waste discharged from battery and paint manufacturing plants, will produce a different sound than those suffering from lack of iron or exposure to other toxins,” says researcher Yulia Pinchasov.
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