VIMS Uses Drones To Find, Study Algal Blooms

2017-09-07T17:09:22+00:00 September 7, 2017|

One day in late July, Donglai Gong was piloting his little quadcopter above his house when he noticed his drone camera picking up something odd in the York River below. “There were features, like, streaks of darkness,” Gong recalled Wednesday at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point. Gong is an assistant professor studying the physics of coastal and polar oceanography. “And, being a physicist, I had no idea what biological processes could be causing that. So I took some pictures. They looked pretty.”He emailed those pictures to VIMS colleagues, many of whom were biologists who knew exactly what was going on: a harmful algal bloom, or HAB.

How Rising Ocean Acidity Could Send Us Into A Downward Spiral

2016-12-16T08:41:49+00:00 December 16, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) A plankton bloom in the Bay of Biscay. (Credit: NASA) Our oceans are getting more acidic, and it’s having big effects on some very small animals—with worrying implications. (From Forbes / by Sam Lemonick)– Ocean acidification, a result of excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, can disrupt plankton blooms, according to new [...]

Toxic ‘Marine Snow’ Can Sink Quickly, Persist At Ocean Depths

2016-12-19T17:05:39+00:00 December 6, 2016|

In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State University found that a specific neurotoxin can persist and accumulate in "marine snow" formed by the algae Pseudo-nitzschia, and that this marine snow can reach significant depths quickly. These findings have implications for food safety policies in areas affected by toxic marine algal blooms.

Reef Degradation On Maui Linked To Quality Of Coastal Groundwater

2016-11-21T10:38:48+00:00 November 21, 2016|

Land-use practices on tropical oceanic islands can have large impacts on reef ecosystems, even in the absence of rivers and streams. Land-based pollutants, such as fertilizers and chemicals in wastewater, infiltrate into the groundwaters beneath land and eventually exit into nearshore ecosystems as submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) -- seeping into the coastal zone beneath the ocean's surface. In a study published recently in PLOS ONE, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM) scientists used a combination of field experiments and chemical analysis of water and algae to show that the quality of coastal groundwater plays a major role in determining the health of nearshore ecosystems in Hawai'i.

Arctic Found To Play Unexpectedly Large Role In Removing Nitrogen

2016-10-28T11:40:54+00:00 October 28, 2016|

Areas of the Arctic play a larger role than previously thought in the global nitrogen cycle -- the process responsible for keeping a critical element necessary for life flowing between the atmosphere, the land and oceans. The finding is reported in a new study of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean published in the journal Nature Communications.

Testing Detects Algal Toxins in Alaska Marine Mammals

2016-06-28T19:24:23+00:00 March 11, 2016|

Toxins from harmful algae are present in Alaskan marine food webs in high enough concentrations to be detected in marine mammals such as whales, walruses, sea lions, seals, porpoises and sea otters, according to new research from NOAA and its federal, state, local and academic partners.

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