A warm blob at the ocean surface, fishery closures, and unhappy marine mammals – what do all these things have in common? The answer is microscopic: a toxic type of algae called Pseudo-nitzschia thrives when temperatures are warm and nutrients are plentiful. It poisons the shellfish that feed marine mammals and support a multi-million dollar fishing industry.
Whales aren’t the only animals hydrophones can detect out in the ocean. In fact, in the near future it might be possible to listen in on animals like scallops and determine if they’re healthy or not. Intrigued? Click here for more!
Species invasions have become serious issues in the marine environment, mostly as a result of increased ship traffic. Once a new species invades an area, it is next to impossible to draw it out. What if there was a way to predict the arrival of alien species to new locations in the ocean? Would this predictive power help minimize future invasions?
Think critical ecosystems are threatened by an algal take over? Not so fast, grazers may have something to say about that.
Yes, you can purchase a fuzzy red tide-forming algal cell. Aside from being much smaller and lacking any type of eye, these organisms can produce massive, toxin-rich blooms in the ocean. Nasty toxins can be harmful to other organisms in the water and even reach humans via the consumption of shellfish and fish. Through the release of chemical cues, copepods have been shown to promote further toxicity in bloom-forming algae.
Harmful algal blooms are common events that occur in coastal waters. In Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, nutrient groundwater runoff initiates massive and highly toxic bloom events. Harmful blooms spell trouble for the environmental health and economic value of the lagoon. How bad has this issue become and what can be done to minimize the severity of future blooms?