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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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Tracking Coral Larvae Sources Helps Protection Plan Development

NOAA investigators and their partners embarked on a year-long study to determine the origins of coral polyps and fish species seeding the reefs of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam so that the islands’ officials can take customized measures to protect them from overharvesting or other damage. Using  drifting sensors coupled with a computer […]

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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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Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems Found to Host Species from Shallower Reefs

Researchers in Hawaii recently discovered that coral habitats found at intermediate depths between 30-150 meters (about 100-490 feet) host some of the same species that live on coral reefs in shallower waters. These coral communities are light dependent, but thrive at depths where sunlight penetration is low. The scientific name for the area where these […]

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Collaboration Identifies Additional Threat to Endangered Seal Species

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service conservationists are looking into why Hawaiian Monk seal numbers continue to decline despite their best efforts and asked NOS scientists to test for evidence of what might be ailing the animals. Using state-of-the-art analytical methods, the researchers discovered that nearly 20 percent of the samples taken from free-ranging monk seals […]

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Scientific Maps of Fragile Pacific Coral Ecosystem Provide Baseline Data for Conservation and Study

To support the development of the first digital seafloor habitat mapping tool for Palmyra Atoll, researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science undertook an accuracy assessment data (“ground truthing”) collection trip in June, 2010. During the three-week mission, the group collected data to outline the distribution of coral reef ecosystems and fish communities […]

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