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High school scientist from Oxbridge Academy studies algae

Posted at 8:18 AM, Sep 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-29 08:21:31-04

Future scientists are starting at a young age to fight toxic algae and protect our environment.

What started out as a semester-long project in his Oxbridge Academy biology class has turned into a real passion for 17-year-old student Robbie Linck.

RELATED: More Toxic Algae coverage

"I picked algae because after I did a little more investigation, I realized how big of an issue it really is and how much focus needs to be placed on it," said Linck.

He's currently interning at "Bio Tools," a Jupiter-based company where he has access to a lab and its scientists.

Scientist Juanita Sanchez said, "We try to focus on the methods, how our technology will be applied to their project."

Linck said, "We went up to the St. Lucie Estuary, and we began taking water samples from local wells through the program to take here so that we can begin running tests on them."

Once back in the lab, he found, "It's pretty gross, it's like yellow brown water. There's a lot of stuff going on in it."  

Now, he's putting his findings in a report.

"There's also a lot of different contaminants, like nitrates, phosphorous, things of that nature. but now with more advanced machinery we are trying to determine whether or not there is sucralose and sugars that would point to whether septic tanks and fecal matter are actually infiltrating into the wells," said Linck.

Sanchez said Robbie will be presenting his report at a water resource conference in Oregon.

"I appreciate all of my interns. they come with fresh eyes, new questions and sometimes that makes you question yourself in the methods that you are using," said Sanchez.

He's a future scientist hoping to come up with solutions to toxic algae with hopes of presenting his findings to state leaders.