On July 10, passengers aboard the Carnival cruise ship Carnival Legend reported a large algal bloom off Ketchikan, Alaska, prompting the ship's naturalist staff to contact NCCOS for assistance in identifying the bloom. Volunteers from NCCOS’s Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) and staff from the Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research organization identified the bloom as Noctiluca scintillans, an alga linked with fish mortality events worldwide, but whose toxic compounds do not affect humans.
Carnival cruise ships Carnival Legend and Carnival Splendor, both staffed with naturalists, operate in southeast Alaska during the summer months. Carnival reported the identification of last week's bloom to passengers and crew of the Legend via the ship’s daily news. NCCOS is currently working with Carnival naturalist staff to develop lesson plans for educational programming that will further inform over 2,000 passengers per week about harmful algal blooms, their impacts, and related NCCOS research.
Since 2008, NCCOS scientists and PMN volunteers have identified orange blooms of Noctiluca scintillans from the Ketchikan area.
For more information, contact Steve.Morton@noaa.gov.