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Harmful Algae Have the Right Genetic Stuff Brown Tide Research Initiative

The Spring 2012 issue of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute's Oceanus magazine includes the feature article "Harmful Algae Have the Right Genetic Stuff." The research spotlights the efforts of Dr. Christopher Gobler of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, among others.

This year marked the sixth consecutive year that the single-celled alga Aureococcus anophagefferens - whose prolific blooms are known as “brown tide" - turned the waters brown from Long Island's western Shinnecock Bay to eastern Moriches Bay, making for intense, though localized, brown tide conditions.

"Aureococcus has contributed to major declines in the Long Island shellfish industry over the past 25 years," said Dr. Jim Ammerman, Director of New York Sea Grant. “For the past 15 years, Sea Grant has supported a number of Dr. Gobler’s ecological studies of Aureococcus, several through the Brown Tide Research Initiative launched in 1996 and funded by NOAA’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms program. More recently, we have directly funded Gobler’s brown tide genomic research which suggests that Aureococcus is potentially well-adapted to exploit current coastal conditions of increased turbidity, metals, and organic compounds.”

This research was funded by New York Sea Grant, the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. For more, check out the article below, which appeared in Oceanus magazine. This feature story is also available as a pdf.

New York Sea Grant's New York Coastlines also showcased this research in its Summer/Fall 2011 issue (click here). Findings from the study were published in February 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oceanus magazine, which celebrates 60 years in publication this year, explores the oceans in depth, highlighting the research and researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Each issue covers a wide spectrum of oceanography, spanning coastal research, marine life, deep-ocean exploration, and the ocean's role in climate, as well as ocean technology and policy. For more on Oceanus, which is currently circulated to a readership of about 5,000, visit www.whoi.edu/oceanus.

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

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