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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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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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Eating USVI Invasive Lionfish Could Lead to Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

A new report by NCCOS-sponsored researchers shows that consumption of lionfish from the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) could lead to ciguatera fish poisoning. The research team analyzed ciguatera toxin levels in lionfish collected from waters surrounding USVI and found that about 40 percent of USVI lionfish have a measurable level of ciguatera toxin. The team […]

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