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Harmful Algal Blooms

We study species of toxic algae that are responsible for disrupting human and ecosystem health.
While some of these organisms create the phenomena commonly known as “red tides,” others
can be less visible while still causing illness. From the Caribbean to the Arctic, our team is working
to understand the factors that drive these harmful algal bloom (HAB) events.

News story warns Alaska region of high levels of Alexandrium

By C. Anacreon | August 31, 2022

On August 18-20, 2022, scientists on board the research vessel Norseman II found very high numbers of Alexandrium catenella algae cell counts near Wales, Diomede and Shishmaref. Here is a link to the story in the Nome Nugget.

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Research Cruise finds high levels of HABs in the Arctic

By C. Anacreon | August 18, 2022

Significantly high concentrations of Alexandrium catenella were found in the Gulf of Alaska in July and August 2022 during the research cruise on the Norseman II. A health advisory was issued warning nearby communities that clabs, crabs, and tunicates in these waters could affect human and animal health. The full story in The Nome Nugget…

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Harmful Algal Blooms Pose a Risk in Falmouth, Massachusetts

By C. Anacreon | May 4, 2022

A local news story on May 3, 2022 covered harmful algal blooms in the New England and Cape Cod region and their potential to impact Falmouth, Massachusetts, an area which is not monitored by state agencies. The full story in the Falmouth Enterprise can be found here. 

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Alaska newspaper features continuing research on marine food web

By C. Anacreon | April 12, 2022

A news story in Nome, Alaska on April 2022 featured research on algal toxin levels in the marine food web. The full story in the Nome Nugget is available here.

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Local news focuses on HABs in Cape Cod’s fresh and marine waters

By C. Anacreon | February 7, 2022

A story in the Cape Cod Times on Feb. 2, 2022 covered harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Cape Cod waters. “What you are seeing on the Cape is decades of problems with septic systems,” said Anderson. Groundwater travels slowly and even if the entire Cape was sewered today and no more nitrogen or phosphorus entered…

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Researchers raise concerns about Arctic food web

By C. Anacreon | December 7, 2021

Hakai Magazine interviewed research biologists Evie Fachon at WHOI and Kathi Lefebvre at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington for an article focusing on the potential for a significant increase in Alexandrium catenella harmful algal blooms due to warming Arctic waters. Alexandrium catenella blooms produce saxitoxin, a neurotoxin that paralyzes the nervous system…

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Uncovering a “sleeping giant” Arctic cyst bed

By C. Anacreon | October 26, 2021

Don Anderson gave a virtual presentation at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on 10/13/21 focusing on the potential for a significant increase in Alexandrium catenella harmful algal blooms due to warming Arctic waters. During annual blooms, the cells produce saxitoxins, potent neurotoxins, which accumulate in the food web and can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning…

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“Strait Science” lecture featured in local news stories in Alaska

By mrichlen | October 22, 2021

News stories in Nome, Alaska featured research Don Anderson presented at a “Strait Science” lecture in October 2021 sponsored by the UAF Northwest campus and UAF Alaska Sea Grant.  His presentation discussed the recent expansion of harmful algal blooms in the Alaskan Arctic, and the potential impacts to regional residents. Listen to the story on…

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Anderson lab receives NOAA award to study HAB toxins in Alaskan marine food webs

By mrichlen | October 7, 2020

Don Anderson and colleagues were recently funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through a competitive research program to improve the nation’s collective response to the growing problem of harmful algal blooms (HABs).  This five-year research program will investigate the prevalence  of HAB toxins in Alaskan marine food webs, and will model their movement…

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Harmful Algal Bloom Control

By C. Anacreon | February 25, 2020

On February 19, 2020, Don Anderson spoke at a congressional briefing entitled “Controlling Harmful Algal Blooms”, co-hosted by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania). This briefing focused on the challenges of controlling HABs, a highly diverse and complex phenomena, and ways of evaluating different mitigation and control strategies…

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