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The autonomous sampling boat The goal of this multi-disciplinary project is to provide unprecedented spatial and temporal coverage of key limnological parameters of Lake Zurich for a better understanding of the mass occurrence and population dynamics of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens. We developped an Autonomous Boat equipped with a variety of sensors (temperature, pH, light, oxygen, nutrients, and algal pigments) to allow for the high-frequency monitoring of cyanobacterial spatiotemporal distribution. In parallel, we will develop and apply methods to rapidly assess the contribution of toxic strains to the P. rubescens population. The boat-generated field data will serve

  1. to create a lake basin-wide model of P. rubescens development in the context of physico-chemical parameters and
  2. to guide the specific (event-driven) manual sampling campaigns and subsequent laboratory analyses, such as strain typing, gene expression of microcystin production and single-cell detection of microcystin concentration.

This project is a collaboration between the Limnological Station from University of Zurich, and the Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) from ETH Zurich. It will run for 3 years and will provide funding for one PhD at the ASL and one postdoc at the limnological station.

This project is funded by SNF.

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