VIMS Algal Blooms

New grant awards and technologies are helping researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science redouble their efforts to better understand and manage potentially harmful algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters around the U.S. (Courtesy VIMS)

Algal blooms in the Chesapeake Bay, courtesy of VIMS

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) recently received three awards totaling $2.5 million over three years to study harmful algal blooms, or HABs, positioning VIMS as a major player in quantifying the negative effects of HABs.

VIMS received two grants through NOAA’s ECOHAB program that focuses on species related  issues with algae. Dr. Kim Reece, and her team will use one of the grants to study how an increase in a dinoflagellate species called Alexandrium monilatum negatively impacts oyster larvae. A team led by Dr. Juliette Smith also won an ECOHAB award to develop earlier warning signs for HABs in large shellfish harvesting sites by monitoring an toxic algae species called Dinophysis.

The National Science Foundation provided a third grant to Iris Anderson and fellow VIMS researchers Mark Brush, Kim Reece, and BK Song to study how algal blooms affect carbon cycling in estuaries. They are interested in understanding how algal blooms can affect the cycling of carbon in estuaries. These areas have the potential to play an role in atmospheric carbon sequestration, as “estuaries serve as critical hotspots for processing carbon as it moves from land to the coastal ocean,” says Anderson.

To read more about this study and about the equipment used, check out this article from the WY Daily.

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