Professor Michelle Burford, Griffith University
Professor Michele Burford is a researcher in the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University. She, and her team, undertake research on algal ecology and physiology in marine and freshwater systems, and the factors that drive algal productivity and blooms. She has more than 30 year experience in this area having published more than 160 scientific papers and book chapters, and trained 11 PhD students. Michele sits on an international committee, GlobalHAB, which coordinates collaborative efforts to share information and research on harmful algal blooms. She works closely with various tiers of government and industries such as the water industry, aquaculture and fisheries to improve environmental management.
The benthic marine cyanobacterium, Lyngbya majuscula regularly blooms in Moreton Bay, especially in the summer months. Research on this species has been underway for more than 20 years, although in recent years research has been limited, despite the ongoing blooms. Typically, the scale of blooms is related to nutrient availability although the frequency and duration is more likely to be related to physical conditions, such as temperature and wind strength. Deception Bay remains a hotspot for regular blooms, but periodic blooms occur throughout the Bay where the substrate is suitable and the water is shallow enough. Managing blooms long term relies on catchment management strategies to reduce nutrient inputs to Moreton Bay, but there is also scope to improve monitoring and management using new technologies and approaches. This includes the use of drones for monitoring the spatial extent of blooms throughout the bay, and cyanobacterial control mechanisms, such as hydrogen peroxide, which as been successfully used in a number of countries.