University of Technology Sydney (UTS) wanted to develop an Algae Scum Identification Resource Kit (Scum App) which would primarily be used for identifying potentially toxic freshwater algal that may be forming scums or colouring the water and then monitoring the algae status. The Scum App provides users with a dichotomous key to help with identifying the algal types, and then allows users to report sightings of algal blooms, upload photos and record the location of the bloom.

We designed, built and hosted the Scum App for UTS, working closely with Associate Professor Simon Mitrovic, a UTS Freshwater ecologist, who has been dealing with algal blooms, and their impacts, for 20 years. In 1997 Simon Mitrovic co-authored the “What Scum is that?” field guide.

The Scum App we developed leads the user through a series of Yes/No questions to identify the algal bloom easily and determine whether it may be a potentially toxic blue-green algae. The Scum App also provides educational background information on algal blooms allowing the user to gain a better understanding of the algal bloom they are reporting.