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Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Seeks Advice on Harmful Algal Bloom Threat

Five NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries on the west coast are vulnerable to harmful algal blooms, including blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia, which at times produce domoic acid—a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in many animals. Consumption of toxic prey leads to illness and death in a variety of birds and marine mammals and necessitates shellfish harvesting closures […]

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High-tech Armada Links Toxic Algal Blooms and Nutrients from Sewage off Southern California

Last month, NCCOS-funded scientists deployed two Environmental Sample Processors, two research vessels, five autonomous underwater vehicles, and five drifters in the ocean around San Pedro Bay, off Southern California, seeking signs of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Not long after deployment, this high-tech armada detected a large phytoplankton bloom that included the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia and its […]

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Forensic Genomics Used to Identify Causes of Ocean Mass Mortality Events

Fish and invertebrate mass mortality events are increasing in coastal zones worldwide, but in many cases it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of death. Toxic spills, hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen), disease outbreaks, and toxin-producing harmful algal blooms possibly cause these events, but it is critical from a management and response perspective to accurately […]

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Underwater Robots Detect Toxic Algae off Southern California

Two autonomous underwater robots deployed in San Pedro Bay off southern California have detected the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia and its potent neurotoxin domoic acid. This may signal the initiation of a harmful algal bloom along the coast that could impact a variety of wildlife and fishery resources. The robots, known as Environmental Sample Processors, are essentially underwater, molecular […]

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Sentinel Site Alerts California Public to Toxic Shellfish

Routine sampling of marine mussels from a University of California sentinel site at the Santa Cruz Wharf prompted the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to issue a health advisory warning for domoic acid poisoning due to high levels of the toxin in shellfish samples. The April 4, 2014 advisory warned consumers not to eat recreationally […]

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Surface Elevation Trends Help Us Prepare for Climate Change

Predicting future patterns of coastal inundation from sea level rise requires knowledge of changes in sea level and changes in elevation of land surface. Surface elevation tables—mechanical devices permanently installed in wetlands—allow scientists to measure small changes in surface elevation precisely and accurately. These devices have been installed in coastal wetlands across the U.S. by […]

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Climate-based Integrated Ecosystem Assessments for Ocean Resource Management

A special issue of the journal Oceanography published in March highlights a number of accomplishments and findings of the U.S. component of the Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC) program. For over 20 years, this multidisciplinary research program initiated by the United Nations conducted research in the U.S. and around the world, focusing on the potential […]

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NCCOS-developed Method for Toxins Detection Approved for Regulatory Testing of Shellfish in the U.S

Earlier this year, the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) approved a new assay developed by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) as an official method for identifying toxicity that could result in paralytic shellfish poisoning. This approval is the culmination of more than a decade of effort to find an alternative to live animal […]

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