MAP-HABS: An Innovative Platform for the Early and Ongoing Detection of Harmful Algal Blooms

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO team photo
Our project goal is to develop an autonomous, water-based drone that continuously monitors for algal activity and is able to detect toxic algae in inland water bodies. Through a modular approach, the drone will utilize various sensors, including chlorophyll-a and phycocyanin, to determine whether an algal bloom is occurring and to what extent and take samples to determine toxicity. A combination of machine learning navigation, lidar and sonar sensors, and radio communication will enable the drone to operate itself and transmit data in real-time.

PI: Dr. Brad ReisfeldCo-Investigators: Dr. Steve Simske and Dr. Ed HallStudent Team: Luke Aldana (Electrical Engineering), Blake Billera (Mechanical Engineering), Kate Boyd (Chemical and Biological Engineering), Katie Calsyn (Mechanical Engineering), Casey Johnston (Environmental Engineering), Shubh Koradiya (Chemical and Biological Engineering), Fritz Ogden, (Chemical and Biological Engineering) Emily Radtke (Chemical and Biological Engineering), Adrien Schissler (Chemical and Biological Engineering)

EPA P3 Video Presentation

Poster (click to open a full size image): 
MAP-HABS: An Innovative Platform for the Early and Ongoing Detection of Harmful Algal Blooms poster

The focus of the HABs Bot is to provide rapid, reliable data on algal activity for freshwater body shareholders to address in a timely manner if action is needed. HABs pose a concerning threat to human and animal health, economic prosperity, and ecosystem stability and are projected to become more prevalent with climate change. Therefore, the function of the HABs Bot is to track ABs and HABs temporally and spatially so that proper management protocol can be executed and improvements for future mitigation planned.