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Toxic Algae Blooms
Transcript of Toxic Algae Blooms
Period 5 Toxic Algae Blooms In certain parts of the ocean, large masses of algae are known to appear, often to such an extent that the water color turns from blue to red. Although algae blooms are quite common, what makes these "red tides" different from other blooms is that the photosynthetic organisms in these "red tides" secrete powerful toxins that can kill other marine life. Ever since the ancient times, people have observed that red tides would periodically come and go. However in recent years, red tides have become increasingly damaging, leaving scientists scrambling to find a cause. In addition, red tides have begun to take an increasing toll on the livelihoods and well being of the coastal population. Introduction History of Algal Blooms Scientific Background Legal/Economic Background Stakeholders Bibliography Massive blooms of algae have been noticed and recorded for hundreds of years. People also have noticed how these blooms often result in great fish kills. However in recent times, these algae blooms have become more common, larger, and more intense. Fun Fact!: Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", was inspired by algae poisoned birds hurling themselves into homes along Monterrey Bay. :( (Sonia, 2011) 1) Lora E. Fleming, Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lorraine C. Backer, Judy A. Bean, Adam Wanner, Dana Dalpra, Robert Tamer, Julia Zaias, Yung Sung Cheng, Richard Pierce, Jerome Naar, William Abraham, Richard Clark, Yue Zhou, Michael S. Henry, David Johnson, Gayl Van De Bogart, Gregory D. Bossart, Mark Harrington and Daniel G. Baden
Initial Evaluation of the Effects of Aerosolized Florida Red Tide Toxins (Brevetoxins) in Persons with Asthma
Environmental Health Perspectives ,(May, 2005) Vol. 113, No. 5 , pp. 650-657
Published by: Brogan & Partners
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3436261
2) K. A. Steidinger and K. Haddad
Biologic and Hydrographic Aspects of Red Tides (Dec., 1981)
BioScience , Vol. 31, No. 11 , pp. 814-819
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1308678
3) Stewart. R., (2009). Harmful Algae Blooms. Retrieved from
4) Waggoner. B., & Speer. B., (1998). Introduction to the Dinoflagellata. Retrieved from
5) Casto. P., Huber. M., (2010). Life Near the Surface. Eighth Edition Marine Biology (338-339). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
6) Sonia. C., (2011, December 29). Scientists Solve Mystery That Inspired Hitchcock’s
The Birds. Times. Retrieved From
http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/12/29/scientists-solve-mystery-that-inspired-hitchcocks-the-birds/ (Steidinger, Haddad, 1981) Most red tides are caused by a group of algae known as dinoflagellates. Identified by their cellulose shells and two flagella, dinoflagellates are typically harmless algae that form the bottom of many food chains. (Wasgoner, Speer, 1998) However, in large numbers, these organisms can produce powerful toxins that can harm or even kill fish, marine mammals, and even people. In addition to outright killing fish, dinoflagellate toxins can accumulate in edible shellfish (clams, mussels, etc). Instead of dying, the shellfish store the toxins in their flesh, accumulating them over time. People who eat these shellfish can develop nausea, paralysis, and even die. (Robert Stewart, 2009) Thus, red tides can force the closure of
entire shellfish beds. In addition, direct exposure to red tides can cause rashes and eye irritation, closing beaches. By driving away people, red tides can cause thousands of dollars of damage to coastal communities. Marine biologists are greatly concerened with how red tides are killing off local wildlife, such as fish and marine mammals. The fishing industry is also worried that more frequent red tides can reduce catches. The shellfish industry is especially worried how the toxins from red tides can leach into their shellfish beds. Finally, those who rely on tourism for their livelihoods are concerned that red tides can drive away tourists. Future of the Issue Currently, there is much uncertainly about what causes red tides, are why they are becoming more common. What is certain however is that people are undoubtedly the cause for the increased potency of red tides. One suspected cause for red tide outbreaks has been fertilizer runoff from farms and coastal communities. Because dinoflagellates are a type of algae, the increased nutrients can cause their population to explode. (Castro, Huber, 2010) Another cited reason for harmful algae blooms has been the overfishing and over exploitation of small fish and shellfish. Since these two groups are major consumers of dinoflagellates, decline in their numbers can cause dinoflagellate numbers to explode. (Stewart R. 2009) Conclusion The red tide is an epidemic scientists must research further in order to protect both wildlife and human communities. Although red tides are not a new phenomenon, their recent numbers and impact on coastal regions certainly is. Despite their normal role as benevolent plankton, dinoflagellate swarms are beginning to have a real, and lasting impact on both sea life, and people on land.
With entire schools of fish dying, beaches sitting empty, and seafood being poisoned, people more than ever are concerned with how and why toxic algae blooms develop. But for now, the only thing people and communities can do is question whether or not their actions are to blame for red tides. Picture Sources National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2011)
Harmful Algal Blooms: Simple Plants with Toxic Implications
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/hab/ Note: Not all red tides are red, but we figured, the first picture of a red tide might as well be...red. Waggoner. B., & Speer. B., (1998). Introduction to the Dinoflagellata. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/protista/dinoflagellata.html Peter. P., (2009).b Ceratium-dinoflagellates
http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/Ceratium-dinoflagellates Cabrillo College, Mollusks: The Shelled Invertebrates
http://www.cabrillo.edu/~jcarothers/lab/notes/molluscs/index.html Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Fish Kills due to Harmful Algal Blooms
http://www.whoi.edu/science/B/redtide/foodweb/fishkills.html Dead fish caused by red tide, typically bad for tourism. Fertilizer Runoff Peak Water.org (2011)., Big Coal’s Watergate? Nation Watches as Clean Water Act Scandal Rocks Kentucky Court Today
http://peakwater.org/tag/water-pollution/ Duke University., Overfishing
http://www.duke.edu/web/nicholas/bio217/spring2010/danaher-garcia/Overfishing.html Poor fishies Scientific Education and Resource Center at Carleton College., Red Tide - A Harmful Algae Bloom
http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/redtide/index.html Very large red tide (notice the raft!) Plagarism is bad! (Stewart R. 2009)