Shop Windows to the Universe

Arches National Park Geology Tour provides an extensive, visually rich description of the geology of Arches, by Deborah Ragland, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
Scientists are discovering why blooms of harmful algae are often seen along the U.S. Northwest Coast. This image was taken on September 29, 2004 and shows a large bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia, a toxic algae, off the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.

"Hot Spot" for Toxic Algal Blooms Discovered off Washington Coast
News story originally written on January 30, 2009

Scientists are trying to learn why blooms of toxic algae are forming in the Straight of Juan de Fuca, a part of the ocean that separates Washington State from British Columbia, Canada. When there's a toxic algae bloom, the toxins accumulate in shellfish and beaches have to be closed where people go for fishing and recreation.

Scientists have learned that the Juan de Fuca eddy often has large populations of the microscopic toxic alga, Pseudo-nitzschia. This biotoxin can be harmful to humans or can cause death in birds, marine mammals and humans who eat affected marine species. Toxic algae can also hurt the economy in coastal communities that contain commercial fisheries, recreation, and tourism.

"Understanding how and where harmful algal blooms originate will help provide early warnings to protect human health and reduce the impact of biotoxins on coastal shellfisheries," said Vera Trainer, a scientist at the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

Last modified April 7, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist, mineral and fossil specimens, and educational games!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Triggers of Volcanic Eruptions in Oregon's Mount Hood Investigated

Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more

Oldest Earth Mantle Reservoir Discovered

The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more

It’s Not Your Fault – A Typical Fault, Geologically Speaking, That Is

Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more

Lower Solar Activity Linked to Changes in Sun's Conveyor Belt

The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more

Growth Spurt in Tree Rings Prompts Questions About Climate Change

Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like while the tree was alive. This means that tree rings can tell us about climates of the past. Two...more

Did Life First Develop in a Mica Sandwich at the Bottom of a Primordial Sea?

Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more

Acid Rain Has Greater Impact on Coastal Ocean Waters

Acid rain is what happens when some types of air pollution is washed out of the sky by rain. Power plants, factories, farms, houses, and cars all put pollution into the atmosphere. Sometimes, this pollution...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA