Home > news > Common Freshwater Alga Alters Fish Hormones and Gender

Common Freshwater Alga Alters Fish Hormones and Gender

Published on: 03/25/2011

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science-sponsored scientists have discovered that the common bloom-forming, freshwater harmful alga, Microcystis, produces estrogen-like substances that can alter sex hormones in fish, potentially causing feminization. The scientists from the University of Tennessee noted that human activities were previously thought to be the sole source for estrogen-like compounds in the environment.

Microcystis was already a concern because it produces liver toxins that can prevent recreational use of water bodies and may accumulate in drinking water. This new research enhances concern for both ecosystem and human health, because

Microcystis blooms have been increasing in freshwater and coastal areas due to increased nutrient inputs in some of the same areas where feminized fish have also been observed. This research is funded through the NCCOS Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) Program.

Explore Similar News

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov

    Sign Up for Our Quarterly Newsletter