Harmful Algal Blooms

HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS, or HABs, are blooms of phytoplankton, or algae, that build up to a large enough number that they are harmful to other forms of life. The rate of reproduction is so rapid compared to other species that they may discolour the ocean over a wide area. Red Tide is the popular name for this phenomenon. One type of HAB is caused by a tiny, single-celled dinoflagellate called Alexandrium, which produces a poison called saxitoxin. When filter-feeding shellfish—principally...

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