This buoy, built by faculty members and graduate students, spent the summer of 2016 gazing at Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach. It monitors water quality, and eventually will provide real-time information to the health department and beachgoers, alerting them to potentially harmful levels of bacteria.

Todd Miller, an associate professor in the Zilber School of Public Health, is leading the buoy team, which includes assistant professor Matthew Smith and postdoctoral fellow Lucas Beversdorf. Construction takes place at the School of Freshwater Sciences, and plans call for one or two more buoys to hit the water in 2017.

The team also is crafting a database with information about how algae, sunlight, wind, waves and turbidity affect the growth of such bacteria as E. coli.