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Assessing Future Harmful Algal Bloom Risk for Washington State

In Puget Sound, the toxic alga Alexandrium catenella threatens the health of people who eat shellfish contaminated with toxins it produces. An NCCOS Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) project, Puget Sound Alexandrium Harmful Algal Blooms, annually mapped “seedbeds” of Alexandrium resting stages (cysts) at about 100 locations on the bottom throughout Puget Sound. The project […]

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Upwelling Controls HAB Movement toward Pacific NW Coast

Models developed by NCCOS-sponsored researchers will predict the transport of harmful algal blooms (HABs) to coastal beaches or offshore from two locations off of Washington and Oregon, based on the influence of the Columbia River Plume and seasonal upwelling (displacement of surface water by cool, nutrient rich, deep water). A recent study determined that upwelling plays […]

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Primary Cause of Dead Zones is Biological on Pacific Northwest Continental Shelves

Coastal waters of the northern portion of the California Current System experience a seasonal decline in oxygen concentrations and increasing hypoxia (dead zones) over the summer upwelling season resulting in negative impacts to many organisms. NCCOS-sponsored research modelling determined that plankton respiration was the leading influence on seasonal and interannual fluctuations in oxygen concentration and hypoxia in the […]

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Reducing the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Using Operational Hypoxia Scenario Models

A recently released white paper assesses the status of several empirical and deterministic models capable of characterizing Gulf hypoxia, also known as the Gulf dead zone. “Modeling Approaches for Scenario Forecasts for Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia” presents conclusions from the 2013 joint NOAA and Northern Gulf Institute Forum for the Gulf of Mexico Research and Coordination […]

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Mesophotic Habitats Are a Refuge for Large, Overfished Species in Southwest Puerto Rico

NCCOS-supported research found that commercially important fish, such as snappers and groupers, off southwest Puerto Rico are more abundant at mesophotic depths (60–80 meters) than shallow depths (30 meters or less). The study, published in the journal Coral Reefs, suggests that mesophotic coral ecosystems serve as a refuge for heavily exploited, shallow-water reef species and […]

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Pulley Ridge Corals Show Potential Signs of Recovery After 10-Year Decline

An NCCOS-funded study has produced a detailed characterization of the deep (60–80 meters), mesophotic reefs and fish populations of Pulley Ridge, located off the southwest coast of Florida. While the study shows a decade-long decrease in coral cover at Pulley Ridge, when compared with data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2003, the findings […]

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NCCOS Works to Track and Eliminate Freshwater Algal Toxins

A new study has documented the fate of microcystins—the most common of the freshwater blue-green algae toxins—and the challenges for monitoring them. The study is part of a larger NCCOS-sponsored project whose goal is to identify bacteria capable of degrading microcystins and to develop an affordable and efficient water filtration system to house such microorganisms. Microcystins inhibit and […]

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Hypoxia Task Force Makes Progress to Reduce Runoff Fueling Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force (“Hypoxia Task Force”) works to reduce and control hypoxia, or the dead zone, in the Gulf of Mexico. At the Fall Public Meeting in Alton, Illinois, the Task Force reported recent progress in dead zone reduction. New measures and actions were passed to control  nutrient runoff which […]

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