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Toxic red tides: USC scientist tracks neurotoxin-producing algae
Date:9/30/2011

ase of animals being sickened by algal blooms in this region occurred in the 1990s. Since 2003, such events have occurred almost annually in a worrying increase of such blooms, Caron said.

The cause of the increase in toxic algae blooms remains the subject of speculation. This could be the result of an ongoing change in the ecosystem off of California's coast, or it could be that scientists are witnessing a cyclical phenomenon. Extensive monitoring of toxic algal blooms is relatively new in the region, Caron said.

Caron said he hopes that his new assay will help scientists not just to spot the blooms, but to monitor the changes in environmental conditions that lead to such blooms. In particular, he's hoping to discover what causes a harmful species of algae to bloom as opposed to a benign species.

Caron's research, headed by postdoctoral investigator Marie-Eve Garneau of the University of Zurich, was published online on September 16 by Applied and Environmental Microbiology, was supported by funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Fonds qubcois de recherche sur la nature et les technologies, and the Swiss National Science Fund.

Fellow authors include Astrid Schnetzer, Adriane C. Jones and Erica L Seubert of USC and Peter D. Coutway of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.


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Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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