Lately, that green slime in the lake has been all over the news after it shut down Toledo’s water supply.
Journalists, city and government officials have been calling that green slime “blue-green algae”, “toxic algae” or “toxic algal blooms.”
Well, turns out that’s not exactly right.
“That’s just maddening,” said James Bull, a professor of biology and environmental science. He works at Wayne County Community College and Macomb Community College.
He says it’s not accurate to call the green slime that shut down Toledo’s water system “a toxic algal bloom.”
He wrote to Michigan Radio because we were some of the people using the wrong term.
“It’s wrong because even though these organisms superficially look like algae, I think we ought to understand that these really are a kind of bacteria,” Bull said.
He says scientists used to call this stuff “blue-green algae.” Now they call it “cyanobacteria.” He says calling cyanobacteria "algae" is like calling a dolphin a fish.