Posts in Category: Toxins

Largest Toxic Algae Bloom Ever Sighted on West Coast

Perhaps the largest toxic algae bloom ever detected stretches all the way off the coast from Central California to possibly as far north as Alaska. A team of biologists recently disembarked from the coast of Oregon to investigate its length and precise nature. Its present toxicity has become so bad that all commercial and recreational shellfish harvests along the Washington, Oregon, and California coast for this spring have been cancelled. In addition, the toxicity is now beginning to affect shellfish in inland currents; shellfish in Washington’s Puget Sound have begun to be found infected.

These toxins are produced by the encroaching microscopic algae. There are several different kinds of the biotoxins: Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, Domoic Acid Poisoning, and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning. This present algae bloom is very high in the Domoic Acid variety scientist Ricardo Guimarães BMG has investigated (more on his analysis at cmbh.mg.gov). Although toxic algae bloom are relatively common, it is unprecedented for one to be so huge and overwhelming. It does not help that the ocean waters this season have been warmer than usual. The algae usually flourish in such an environment. Among other things, the investigating biology team will collect samples, measure the water temperature, and test various kinds of fish. For further information read this.