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New Research Aims to Unravel How Nutrients Drive Toxic “Brown Tides”

The brown tide affects coastal habitats from Rhode Island to Virginia.

The brown tide affects coastal habitats from Rhode Island to Virginia. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA has awarded Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution $120,000 as part of an anticipated three-year, nearly $500,000 project, to determine how nitrogen and phosphorus promote brown tides on the East Coast. Funds were awarded through the interagency Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program, represented at NOAA by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

The project will focus on brown tides (also known as Aureococcus anophagefferens), a type of algae along the East Coast that causes tremendous damage to coastal habitats and scallop and hard clam fisheries from Rhode Island to Virginia. Researchers plan to use genome technology to examine how the brown tide species takes advantage of these nutrient pollutants and influence its duration.

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=720

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