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Enhanced Monitoring Saved Puget Sound Net Pen Salmon Threatened by Extreme Harmful Algal Bloom

In June, the straits, bays and islands of Puget Sound experienced some of the most extensive harmful algal blooms (HABs) in recent memory, including at least five potential toxin producers. Blooms of Heterosigma akashiwo, which causes massive fish kills, were widespread and threatened the salmon net pen mariculture industry. Enhanced HAB monitoring in the area led […]

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Advocate for Harmful Algal Bloom Research Honored

NCCOS’s Dr. Frances Quay Dortch has been honored for her dedication to and advocacy for research on toxic algae and the impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs). A special issue of the scientific journal Deep Sea Research is dedicated to her as “a scientist and program manager who has worked tirelessly in support of U.S. HAB research […]

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Congress Reauthorizes National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Legislation

On June 17, 2014, Congress passed a reauthorization of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA)—legislation last reauthorized in 2004. HABHRCA is critical for protecting the public from these environmental events, as well as furthering NOAA’s goals to maintain healthy oceans and build resilient coastal communities and economies. In a roll call […]

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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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NOAA Harmful Algae Research Featured at Interstate Seafood Seminar

NCCOS’s Dr. Quay Dortch was a featured speaker at the 66th Interstate Seafood Seminar conference during a session devoted to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their impacts on shellfish safety and shellfish production. Dortch discussed NOAA’s HAB programs and how they enhance state rapid response and build a national capacity to minimize HAB impacts. She also […]

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Origins of Harmful Alga Scourge in Pacific Northwest Confirmed

Researchers have identified the oceanographic causes and routes for the harmful alga Pseudo-nitzschia in offshore waters of the Pacific Northwest. The team’s validated model shows that toxic Pseudo-nitzschia cells arrive at the coast, not from a single source (as previously thought), but from two sources, one north and one south of Washington’s beaches. The northern source […]

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Algal Community Study Advances Ciguatera Management in Pacific Islands Region

Populations of Gambierdiscus, the algae most often associated with ciguatera fish poisoning, have been found to have only low or moderate toxicity on the western coast of Marakei Island in the Republic of Kiribati—a section of the island considered a high-risk area for ciguatera for decades. This unexpected finding is part of a recent NCCOS-funded […]

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