Acidification modeling effort being expanded to toxic marine algal blooms

Posted November 2, 2018
Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea otters have become sickened and even died off the coast of California as a result of poisoning by toxins produced by harmful algal blooms. SCCWRP and its partners are using computer modeling to determine whether the discharge of land-based nutrient sources into marine waters could be exacerbating toxic marine algal blooms.

Researchers working to develop a West Coast computer model that predicts how land-based nutrient sources influence coastal ocean acidification and hypoxia are expanding the effort to examine the potential role of these nutrients in exacerbating toxic marine algal blooms.

The three-year study, launched in October, will focus on a type of harmful algal bloom known as Pseudo-nitzschia, which produces a potent neurotoxin that has sickened marine mammals and led to months-long shellfishery closures.

Water-quality managers want to know if the nutrients in wastewater effluent, stormwater runoff and atmospheric deposition are contributing to an increase in the frequency and intensity of Pseudo-nitzschia blooms.

The study builds off ongoing work by SCCWRP and its partners to develop a coupled physical-biogeochemical model for the West Coast that predicts if and how human activities on land are driving coastal acidification and hypoxia.

During the study, researchers will expand the model’s phytoplankton component to more comprehensively capture potential drivers of Pseudo-nitzschia blooms in the marine environment.

More news related to: Climate Change, Eutrophication, Harmful Algal Blooms, Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia