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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Greenstate Podcast


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Health

Resource Type

  • Podcasts, 32 minutes, 22 seconds

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon

Cyanobacteria Hamful Algal Blooms

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  • This podcast describes the conditions under which harmful algal blooms form in Oregon and how these cyanobacteria blooms can affect people, pets, and water quality.
  • It describes how pollution reduction can help prevent cyanobacteria blooms, what individuals can do to stay informed, and the ways that community members can report these occurrences.
Teaching Tips


  • The professionals discuss how climate change may be increasing the prevalence of harmful algal blooms and begin to explain the ecology behind these phenomena.
  • An interesting technology that uses satellite image analysis to detect harmful algae blooms is described.
  • This podcast demonstrates how different stakeholders like drinking water specialists, environmental quality professionals, recreation professionals, and the community can all be invested in an environmental problem.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know the difference between cyanobacteria and algae, and they should be familiar with how different levels of these organisms can be positive or negative for a habitat.
  • The podcast webpage includes links to sign up for health advisories in Oregon and to learn more about harmful algal blooms.


  • Before listening to this podcast ask students, "How do you know if a body of water is safe to swim in or drink?"
  • Since this is in audio format, it may be helpful to pull together a slideshow with pictures of cyanobacteria harmful algae blooms for students to see before or after the podcast is assigned.
  • Encourage students to sign up for local health advisory messages related to water quality, using the links on the webpage, or researching local resources if students are not in Oregon.
  • Have students research the algae blooms in other locations such as Florida, the gulf of Mexico, or their local area.
  • Chemistry and biology students can link this podcast to lessons about nutrient cycles, nitrogen, phosphorus, and non-point pollution.
Scientist Notes
This podcast resource from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality focuses on the issue of cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) in Oregon waters. Experts from both the Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority explain what cyanoHABs are, what causes them, and the often serious health issues cyanoHABs can pose to both humans and animals. Efforts to better monitor Oregon’s water quality, both in recreational and drinking water supplies, and to keep Oregonians better informed of cyanoHABs are also discussed. The greatest benefit to most listeners from this podcast is the number of tips provided to help empower people to know what to do when they see potential cyanoHABs. All of the speakers are well informed and provide a thoughtful and thorough discussion of a serious public health concern. This podcast is valuable, both to inform students before water recreation and to start a more in-depth study of local water quality. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-4 Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
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