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Gulf of Mexico Algae Shield Themselves with Toxins When Hungry

A species of algae responsible for red tides plaguing Gulf coast communities protects itself by becoming highly toxic when it’s hungry and vulnerable to being eaten by predators, say scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and North Carolina State University. The red tide organism, called Karenia brevis, reacts to low levels of nutrients–particularly phosphorus–by […]

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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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Massive fish kill continues in the Neuse River – Local – Sun Journal

A massive fish kill on the Neuse River that has been ongoing for nearly a month has resulted in thousands of menhaden washed up on beaches near Neuse Harbor. Mitch Blake, Neuse Riverkeeper, viewed the area Tuesday afternoon, saying there were several hundred thousand dead fish washed up on the beach and in the river. […]

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Research Reveals New Insights into Algae Mystery

A study by National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science researchers posits a new theory to help explain a long-standing puzzle in plankton ecology: despite limited nutrients, why is there such a high diversity of microscopic algae species? The study reveals that competing microalgal species are subject to evolutionary tradeoffs between cellular attributes that promote growth and reproduction (small […]

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Ciguatera Assays Aim to Improve the Safety of Tropical Seafood

Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science developed effective, inexpensive molecular lab tests for field samples to detect algae responsible for a widespread seafood-borne illness. In this month’s Journal of Phycology, the scientists describe assays to detect and quantify six species of Gambierdiscus that cause ciguatera fish poisoning in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and […]

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Genes Reveal Secrets to Preventing Harmful Brown Tide Blooms

Brown tide, a harmful algal species that annually plagues mid-Atlantic shellfisheries, owes its success to genes that help it thrive in shallow, nutrient-enriched estuaries, according to new findings from a researcher funded by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms Program (ECOHAB). Analysis uncovered that the organism possesses […]

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Toxic Free Radical Produced by Pfiesteria piscicida: A New Paradigm in Marine Toxins

Background First discovered in the late 1980s, Pfiesteria bloomed in 1997 in Chesapeake Bay tributaries in association with fish kills and human health problems, resulting in large economic losses due to lost seafood sales and tourism. That outbreak led to a large research effort to understand the causes and prevent or minimize the impacts of […]

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