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Algal Toxin Causes Seizures by Damaging Olfactory Neurons

NOAA researchers discovered how a harmful algal toxin called domoic acid targets the brain to induce seizures. Using a rat epilepsy model for the California sea lion, a species susceptible to poisoning by the toxin, they showed that it causes extensive damage to the olfactory bulb, a specialized brain region responsible for the perception of odors. […]

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Algae Toxin Traced Through Rat Brains Yields Clues to Sea Lion Seizure Risk

To better understand epileptic disease caused by an algal toxin in young California sea lions, researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science exposed pregnant lab rats to the substance and studied its movement. In the adult rats, the toxin—known as domoic acid—enters the brain and surrounding fluid quickly and exits from the cerebrospinal […]

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Tests Help Fisheries Service Reopen Georges Bank for Shellfish Harvesting

NOAA Fisheries now allows clam harvests in an area of Georges Bank off limits for the last 22 years to protect people from getting ill from algae toxins. Their decision centers on a two-part testing protocol that commercial fishermen and labs will use before bringing a catch to market. Once the haul arrives at the dock, […]

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Algae Sampling Technology Partnership to Find, Exploit Novel Chemical Compounds

A pharmaceutical research and development startup and NOAA signed an agreement designed with two goals in mind. The company, Biosortia, plans to discover and extract beneficial compounds from natural sources such as algae, and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science wants to use Biosortia’s harvesting technology to unlock aquatic microorganisms’ secrets in a brand new […]

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Algal Bloom Species with Two Deadly Toxins Could Disrupt Marine Food Web | UConn Today

When tiny aquatic organisms reproduce in large amounts, algal blooms occur that take over portions of open water up to hundreds of miles in area. And when these oceanic plankton happen to be the toxic kind, they can be deadly to other living things crossing their path. One of the most poisonous and abundant of […]

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First Report of Saxitoxin Exposure in Endangered Shortnose Sturgeon

The likelihood of frequent exposure to saxitoxins in the New England region, specifically in Maine, may be a serious long-term health threat to shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). NCCOS scientists have now confirmed the presence of saxitoxins in this endangered species and provided evidence of food web transfer of these toxins produced by the harmful algae […]

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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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Making Waves: Powerful Fish-Killing Toxin May Lead to Human Health Benefits (Episode 36)

In 2002, a mysterious disease began killing fish at a commercial aquaculture facility in North Carolina. Lots of fish. Over 21,000 striped bass died during the outbreak. At the time, no one knew what caused this massive fish kill. Why did it happen? Would it happen again? We now know that the culprit behind the […]

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