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map indicating targeted beachesScientists from the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research are seeking volunteers to help monitor sanitary conditions at local beaches.

Citizen scientists sought for beach water sampling

A team employing new ways to monitor the sanitary conditions at local beaches is looking for volunteers to help.

Researchers from the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research will analyze DNA from water samples to measure the presence of potentially harmful bacteria. That’s where the citizen scientists come in, says post-doctoral fellow Subba Rao Chaganti.

“We are asking members of the public to supplement our lab’s sampling schedule by collecting beach water samples from June through August,” he says.

He is looking for daily samples from these seven beaches: West Belle River, Sandpoint, Holiday, Colchester, Point Pelee Northwest, Cedar and Cedar Island. Volunteers will receive sampling kits and training; team members will pick up their collections each week.

Dr. Chaganti hopes people living or vacationing near the sites will see the value of the work.

“In the end, the benefit is improved safety of recreational waters,” he says. “The whole purpose is to make these beaches cleaner.”

For more information or to get involved, contact Chaganti at chaganti@uwindsor.ca.

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