EARTH Magazine: Harmful Algal Blooms Find New Habitats in Changing Oceans

EARTH Magazine

From AGI, January 19, 2017  --  In April and May 2015, a bloom of toxic algae spanned more than a thousand miles of Pacific coastline, from Santa Barbara, Calif., to British Columbia. Marine organisms were poisoned throughout the food web, disrupting coastal ecosystems and economies for months. Similar events are expected to become more frequent as the oceans and atmosphere adjust to a warming climate. In the February issue of EARTH Magazine, read how scientists are working to better understand the 2015 Pacific bloom, hoping to apply lessons learned in responding to future events.

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, are an area of intense interest across the geosciences. Current research includes modeling the impacts of coastal upwelling and El Nino; using satellite remote sensing to track HABs as they propagate in real-time; deploying offshore monitoring equipment to gather data on nutrient availability; and performing experiments to determine the causes of algal toxicity. HABs are also of growing concern for non-scientists, and there is a growing network of engaged citizens who are contributing to HAB research and response by collecting water samples at local beaches, educating their communities, and advocating for increased funding to offshore monitoring programs. To learn more about the 2015 Pacific bloom and the different areas of HAB research, read the full article in EARTH:

The February issue of EARTH Magazine is now available online. Read about new research that finds that road salt applications in Michigan are adversely affecting ecosystem health Michigan's urban lakes. Or learn how newly discovered potassium isotopes may be key to understanding how the moon was formed. For these stories and more, subscribe to EARTH Magazine.