Strawberry Fest features MTU's marine research vessel RV Agassiz

Published: Jul. 10, 2016 at 4:22 PM EDT
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The Chassell Strawberry Festival featured more than just strawberry short cake. It was also a chance to take a ride on Michigan Technological University's marine research vessel, the RV Agassiz.

People at the strawberry festival could take one of the rides offered every hour out of Chassell Centennial Park. They learned about modern problems facing lakes and other large bodies of water. The boat is specially designed to collect samples for research on water quality.

"We would assess the water quality by how transparent the water is, how many algae are in the water," RV Agassiz lead scientist Marcel Dijkstra said. "Other assessments would be to see if there's PCPs or copper in the water."

One of the biggest problems facing the Great Lakes are algal blooms, which can release toxic chemicals. Warmer temperatures and agricultural runoff increase the blooms.