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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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Toxins Detection Workshop Promotes International Trade of Shellfish

NCCOS scientist Tina Mikulski recently led a workshop in Muscat, Oman, on the detection of paralytic shellfish toxins—which can accumulate in shellfish, causing human illness and death. Shellfish must be screened for these toxins (produced by harmful algae in the genus Alexandrium) prior to sale and consumption. The workshop was designed through a formal agreement between […]

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Forensic Genomics Used to Identify Causes of Ocean Mass Mortality Events

Fish and invertebrate mass mortality events are increasing in coastal zones worldwide, but in many cases it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of death. Toxic spills, hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen), disease outbreaks, and toxin-producing harmful algal blooms possibly cause these events, but it is critical from a management and response perspective to accurately […]

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Working with State to Document First Occurrence of Harmful Karenia mikimotoi Algae in Alaskan Waters

Starting in late Sept. 2013, a bloom of the phytoplankton Karenia mikimotoi began, progressed, and ultimately covered most of Kachemak Bay, Alaska. The bloom caused the water to turn brown and foam at the surface for several weeks, causing concern in local communities. In response, the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the NCCOS […]

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Programmed Cell Death and the Decline of Harmful Algal Blooms

Programmed cell death, or self-induced cell mortality, is the subject of increasing attention and research efforts. All phytoplankton blooms decline for a variety of reasons—nutrient depletion, zooplankton grazing, virus infections, sedimentation—but programmed cell death as a means to bloom termination is a new concept, and one not well understood. Dr. Deana Erdner, an NCCOS-sponsored researcher […]

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NCCOS Research in Today’s Rapidly Changing Global Environment

Two national science conferences recently highlighted NCCOS research: The theme at the 7th Symposium on Harmful Algae in the United States (Oct. 27–31, 2013; Sarasota, FL) was harmful algal blooms (HABs) in a changing world, especially a more acidic one. NCCOS HAB scientists and sponsored researchers  organized, advised,  chaired sessions, and presented some 13 oral […]

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NCCOS Contributes to European Union Workshop on Algal Toxin, Azaspiracid

NCCOS concluded its contribution to a three-year project funded by the Irish Marine Institute on the algal toxin, azaspiracid, with presentations at the final Dissemination & Stakeholder Workshop held in Galway, Republic of Ireland on September 10, 2013. The presentations focused on toxicological studies conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan-Dearborn that have identified […]

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New Research Shows Both Blooms and Toxicity of Harmful Freshwater Blue-Green Algae Controlled by Nutrients; Genetic Adaptability is Key

In freshwaters around the world blooms of cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green algae) are considered a serious health problem due to their potential to release toxins that can poison and kill humans, pets and livestock. What controls the growth of these cyanobacteria and their associated toxicity? New NCCOS-sponsored research shows how harmful cyanobacteria blooms in […]

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