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Toxic Algal Bloom Hits West Coast


Algae blooms in Puget Sound, photographed from a research plane. These blooms of algae eventually sink to the bottom and decompose, releasing CO2 which makes the water more acidic.

Algae blooms in Puget Sound, photographed from a research plane. These blooms of algae eventually sink to the bottom and decompose, releasing CO2 which makes the water more acidic.

Ashley Ahearn

A huge toxic algal bloom is forcing many shellfish fisheries to shut down along the West Coast. The health effects from eating shellfish contaminated by the toxin associated with the blooms can result in memory loss, seizures and even death. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is surveying the offshore environment to discover what is causing the usual conditions.

We talk with Vera Trainer, manager of the Harmful Algal Bloom Program at NOAA about the effects of the bloom and what scientists are doing to find a solution.

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