Home > news > NCCOS and “Phytofinders” Identify and Respond to Red Tide Event in North Carolina

NCCOS and “Phytofinders” Identify and Respond to Red Tide Event in North Carolina

Published on: 11/10/2014
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology
Primary Contact(s): steve.morton@noaa.gov
A microscopic image of the single-celled protozoan, Mesodinium rubrum. Credit: NOAA.

A microscopic image of Mesodinium rubrum. Credit: NOAA.

Students from First Flight High School participating as “Phytofinders”forthe NCCOS Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) identified the non-toxic, single-celled organismMesodinium rubrum as the cause of a red tide bloom near Bodie and Pea Island, North Carolina. The bloom was first reported on October 27, 2014 to NOAA though the NCCOSCenter forSponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR) harmful algal bloom (HAB) event response web site by a local newspaper reporter.The rapid response coordinated unique capabilities of three NCCOS centers and deployed NCCOS trained citizen observers.

First Flight High School 'Phytofinders' sampling plankton from the red tide. Credit: First Flight High School.

‘Phytofinders’ sampling plankton from the red tide. Credit: First Flight High School.

CSCOR relayed this report to NCCOS HAB forecasting researchers and the NCCOS Phytoplankton Monitoring Network. Using satellite imagery, CCMA researchers predicted the movement of this bloom so the ‘Phytofinders’ could collect and identify the samples asMesodinium.

North Carolina state managers and the North Carolina Aquarium were notified of the positive identification of Mesodinium, who used this information in factoring the release of a rehabilitated sea turtle.Mesodinium is a non-toxic protozoan known to cause brick-red colored blooms worldwide.

For more on the story read the media accounts in ‘The Outer Banks Voice’ from October 28 and October 30, 2014.

For more information contact Steve.Morton@noaa.gov.

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