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Harmful Algal Cyst Mapping in Washington Shows 10-fold Increase since 2013

An unprecedented bloom of the harmful alga Alexandrium occurred during Fall 2014 in Quilcene Bay, Hood Canal, Puget Sound, WA; the outbreak contaminated shellfish with potent biotoxins that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. The area of the bloom was historically biotoxin free, but at the peak of the event, the Washington State Department of Health detected toxin […]

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Puget Sound Harmful Algal Blooms Linked to Seasonal Patterns and Survival Probability

In order to predict blooms and prevent undue economic loss of commercial shellfish in Puget Sound, NCCOS has sponsored research investigating the seasonal patterns and mechanisms of bloom formation of Alexandrium, a dinoflagellate that contaminates shellfish and causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in humans. The study shows Alexandrium survives and spreads in Puget Sound in response to […]

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NCCOS, Partners Improve Aquaculture Siting and Production in Puget Sound

NCCOS and partners are using computer modeling to determine the carrying capacity for shellfish aquaculture—and the related potential for nutrient removal—in South Puget Sound. The team’s methodologies and guidelines will be used to inform marine spatial planning activities locally and throughout the U.S., promoting sustainable shellfish aquaculture and providing a framework for addressing issues that commonly lead […]

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The Craib Corer: Predicting Harmful Algal Blooms by Sampling the Seafloor

Forecasting harmful algal blooms is a complex endeavor involving a wide range of oceanographic disciplines. NCCOS scientists and sponsored researchers count the number of harmful algal bloom (HAB) resting stages or cysts that lie on the bottom of the ocean as one method to estimate the future occurrence of HABs. Scientists use a suite of […]

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Assessing Future Harmful Algal Bloom Risk for Washington State

In Puget Sound, the toxic alga Alexandrium catenella threatens the health of people who eat shellfish contaminated with toxins it produces. An NCCOS Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) project, Puget Sound Alexandrium Harmful Algal Blooms, annually mapped “seedbeds” of Alexandrium resting stages (cysts) at about 100 locations on the bottom throughout Puget Sound. The project […]

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Upwelling Controls HAB Movement toward Pacific NW Coast

Models developed by NCCOS-sponsored researchers will predict the transport of harmful algal blooms (HABs) to coastal beaches or offshore from two locations off of Washington and Oregon, based on the influence of the Columbia River Plume and seasonal upwelling (displacement of surface water by cool, nutrient rich, deep water). A recent study determined that upwelling plays […]

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Primary Cause of Dead Zones is Biological on Pacific Northwest Continental Shelves

Coastal waters of the northern portion of the California Current System experience a seasonal decline in oxygen concentrations and increasing hypoxia (dead zones) over the summer upwelling season resulting in negative impacts to many organisms. NCCOS-sponsored research modelling determined that plankton respiration was the leading influence on seasonal and interannual fluctuations in oxygen concentration and hypoxia in the […]

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Scientists, Partners and the Public Prioritize Marine Resources of Washington’s Olympic Coast

In preparation for future management and research investments, scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries are collecting information from regional stakeholders and members of the public regarding Washington’s Olympic Coast.  Objectives are to assess the social value of coastal and marine resources, and to determine regional […]

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