Home > news > Grazers Avoid Toxic Algae

Grazers Avoid Toxic Algae

Published on: 01/24/2012

Can grazers help reduce the frequency and abundance of harmful algal blooms? We are considerably closer to the answer to this “top down control” question because of some recent work comparing grazing rates of copepod grazing on toxic and non toxic strains of the same algal species. As it turns out, if the toxin is a neurotoxin, copepods can detect toxic cells before they are ingested. Neurotoxins cause copepods to shut down their feeding activity.

On a non toxic strain of the same algal species, feeding continues. If the algal toxins are not neurotoxins, but rather cytotoxins that disrupt membranes, copepod grazing is not significantly different on the toxic and non toxic algae. The data from this study will inform a species specific harmful algal bloom models to help predict the formation and persistence of blooms.

Explore Similar News
NCCOS-with-tag-to-side-bld

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