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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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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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Gulf of Maine Red Tide Forecast Suggests Modest Bloom: Robotic Sensors Deployed to Confirm and Improve Future Predictions

A team of NOAA and academic researchers led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has issued a seasonal red tide forecast for the Gulf of Maine as part of a pilot program that expands NOAA harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecasting to this region. The forecast suggests a modest bloom for the upcoming 2014 season. […]

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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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Spring Flood Outlook Has Implications for Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay Hypoxia

The NOAA 2014 U.S. Spring Flood Risk Assessment provides an important first look at some of the factors that influence summer hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. This year’s predicted elevated flood risk in the Upper Midwest and the Ohio River Valley may result in a larger hypoxic […]

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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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