NCCOS scientists and their partners from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) are investigating the causes of Pseudo-nitzschia blooms and toxicity in Monterey Bay, Calif. from Sept. 5 to Oct. 10. Under the right conditions, some Pseudo-nitzschia produce domoic acid, a potent neurotoxin. Domoic acid accumulates in fish and shellfish, has caused bird and sea lion mortalities, and is a threat to human health. This is the third field experiment for this project, which is comparing two harmful algal bloom ‘hot spots’ – Monterey Bay and San Pedro Bay.
Gliders and Environmental Sample Processors (ESPs ) will be deployed, and shipboard mapping and process experiments will be conducted on three ships participating in this multi-institutional effort. All the ESPs will quantify the abundance of different Pseudo-nitzschia species and transmit the data to MBARI’s decision support system,where the data will be available in near real time. Two of the ESPs will include domoic acid sensors developed by NCCOS scientists and deployed to assess changes in the toxicity of Pseudo-nitzschia populations.