Seth McWhorter, 2020 Battigelli Award RecipientBattigelli Award recipeint Seth McWhorter, MSc. candiate U. Georgia, is studying cyanotoxins in water and fish tissue in lakes in Voyageurs National ParkSeth McWhorter is a recipient of the 2020 Deborah Battigelli Memorial Award. Presented by the Foundation, this Award provides financial assistance to graduate students to present their research at the annual International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum. Seth will deliver a Deborah Battigelli Memorial presentation at the Forum with a talk titled "Investigating presence of cyanotoxins in fish of Voyageurs National Park".

Seth McWhorter is studying ecotoxicology at the Warnell School of Natural Resources (University of Georgia) in Athens, GA. Currently a MSc. candidate, he hopes to transition directly into a PhD. program.  Seth is interested in studying harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms that can release substances into the water that can be toxic to the liver (hepatotoxins), central nervous system (neurotoxins) or skin (dermatoxins).  

Working with researchers at Voyageurs National Park, the USGS and the University of Georgia, Seth is studying the ecological fate of microcystin, anatoxin-a and saxitoxin in water bodies as well as in fish tissues.  Microcystin is a hepatotoxin commonly produced by blue green algae blooms.  Anatoxin-a and saxitoxin are both central nervious system toxins -- saxitoxin is most commonly known for its role in paralytic shell fish poisening.  A key element of Seth's research is investigating whether these toxins are present in walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and white suckers from Lake Kabetogama and Rainy Lake at Voyageurs National Park.  Measuring cyanotoxin concentrations in fish fillets should contribute to ecological risk assessments and importantly help inform human health risk in lake and areas plagued by cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms. 

The Deborah Battigelli Memorial Fund was established at the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation by Deborah’s family to honour her love of life at the lake and her interest to preserve the lake area for future generations. The purpose is to assist the up-and-coming generation of scientists with their research on our lakes to ensure future capacity for protecting the water quality and ecological health of our lake area for generations to come. For more information about the Deborah Battigelli Memorial Fund or to contribute visit: www.lowwsf.com/battigelli-fund.