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 these plankton, the species Alexandrium tamarense, produces paralytic shellfish toxin PST, a neurotoxin that can result in death when ingested in large amounts by mammals, including humans.
Now, Professor Hans Dam and his research group in the [University of Connecticut] Department of Marine Sciences have shown that this microscopic alga also produces a second kind of deadly toxin, one that attacks some of the algae’s tiny predators and, along with PST, could ultimately upset entire marine food chains. Dam published his findings in the May 2012 issue of the journal Aquatic Microbial Ecology.
Also see our earlier article, “New England Red Tide’s Defenses Influence Bloom Duration “