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News and Features by Region Alaska Archives - News and Features

Producing a new Reference Material for Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Monitoring

Saxitoxins, produced by species of harmful algal blooms (HABs), cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) when contaminated seafood is consumed. For nearly 50 years the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided a saxitoxin dihydrochloride standard to state shellfish laboratories and others who monitor seafood safety, and has distributed it as a National Institutes of Standards […]

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New Species of Marine Sponge Discovered in Gulf of Alaska

NOAA scientists and their partners came across an unknown marine sponge last summer while conducting a survey of continental shelf features off the coast of southeastern Alaska. Using a remotely operated vehicle, the team collected a rock for geological analyses that contained numerous marine invertebrates—including an unidentified, yellow-orange, encrusting demosponge. Enrique Salgado, a coral biologist […]

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NCCOS Provides Training to a Centralized Algal Toxin Testing Laboratory for Southeast Alaskan Tribes

NCCOS scientists provided training and technical guidance to scientific staff of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Environmental Regulatory Laboratory (STAERL) on the extraction and detection of Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PST). The NCCOS-developed receptor binding assay being taught, an Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) accepted method, can help secure the food supply against these potent toxins. […]

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West Coast Harmful Algal Bloom Draws Attention of Congress

An ongoing toxic algal bloom off the U.S. West Coast was first detected in California in May 2015 and soon stretched to Alaska. Formed by the harmful algae Psuedo-nitzschia, this unusually long-lasting bloom is the largest bloom in the past 15 years. Record-setting concentrations of domoic acid, the neurotoxin produced by the bloom, have shut […]

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Assessing the Health and Quality of Arctic Estuaries

NCCOS led a month-long sampling cruise in estuaries in the Arctic Ocean aboard the NOAA RV Ron Brown in August.  Sediment, biota and water samples were collected for chemical contaminant analyses, biological community health assessment, and stable isotope analyses and water quality parameters.  This project was a continuation of offshore analyses begun in 2010.  The target […]

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West Coast Harmful Algal Bloom Explained

An unprecedented West Coast harmful algal bloom (HAB) continues, hurting Pacific Coast marine wildlife and causing economic losses to commercial shell fishers from Alaska to California. NCCOS sponsored scientists are participating in the event response and providing information to the public. Recently, NCCOS sponsored scientist Dr. Vera Trainer of NOAA Fisheries joined Washington and Oregon […]

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