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New Protocol Allows Scientists to Monitor Toxic Bottom-dwelling Algae at Low Cost

Using little more than a window screen to collect algae, NCCOS scientists have developed a simple, low-cost protocol for monitoring harmful, bottom-dwelling algae in diverse marine habitats around the world. The window screens mimic natural surfaces that harbor toxic algae and allow direct comparisons of algae abundance from different locations. In a series of field […]

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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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Marine Cage Aquaculture Report Addresses Environmental Concerns

Over 50 percent of seafood production globally comes from aquaculture. While technological innovation has made it possible to grow food in the coastal and open ocean, managers must weigh economic and food security benefits against environmental risks. A report, Marine Cage Culture and the Environment: Twenty-First Century Science Informing a Sustainable Industry, developed by the […]

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Sharks and Top Predators Depend on Benthic Algae in Healthy Coral Reefs

In a newly published study, NCCOS researchers link sharks and other top predators with primary producers (benthic algae) in pristine, healthy coral reef ecosystems.  “We used chemical signatures of carbon and nitrogen found in the tissues of the algae, invertebrates, fish, and sharks from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) to trace the extent benthic algae influences […]

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Research Provides Parameters to Model Ciguatoxin’s Effects on Seals and Humans

A single-celled plant known as Gambierdiscus is responsible for the most common cause of harmful algae poisoning worldwide: ciguatera.  The algae’s potent neurotoxin–called ciguatoxin–is found in over 400 species of fish and is conservatively estimated to sicken more than 50,000 people every year. Two years ago, researchers from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science […]

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New Interactive Map Highlights America’s Coral Reefs

A new interactive map, “Mapping America’s Coral Reefs,” gives casual observers an engaging overview of  the nearly 3 million acres of sea floor habitat mapping data produced by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and its partners. This “story” map complements a recent report summarizing NOAA shallow-water coral reef mapping outcomes and results, which […]

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Cheaper Ciguatoxin Assay May Rely on Proxy Molecule

A recently published finding may contribute to the development of a long-elusive affordable ciguatoxin detector, crucial for equatorial peoples worldwide at risk of contracting a severe type of seafood poisoning. While researching toxicity differences in the several species of tropical algae that cause ciguatera, researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and partners […]

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Maps of Coral Reef Ecosystem Habitats Enhance Conservation Efforts

Since 2000, the National Ocean Service and its partners have mapped more than 3 million acres (12,100 km2) of shallow-water (0-30 meters) coral reef habitats spanning the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean. The results of this body of work are summarized in a new report released by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), National Summary […]

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