Large blooms of algae in Monterey Bay are releasing a toxin that has apparently been poisoning large numbers of marine mammals and birds.
Blooms of the algae produce a neurotoxin called domoic acid, said Tim Stephens of the University of California-Santa Cruz, whose scientists report that the blooms which first appeared in Southern California earlier this spring are now occurring along the Central Coast.
Researchers have detected high levels of the toxin in the bay, he said, and large numbers of dead seabirds, as well as sea lions with symptoms of domoic acid poisoning, have been turning up on Monterey Bay beaches.
“The impact on marine life depends on how much of the toxin gets into the food web,” said Raphael Kudela, associate professor of ocean sciences at UC-Santa Cruz. “But in terms of toxin production and the size of the bloom, this event is similar to the large blooms we saw in Monterey Bay in 2000 and 2002.”
Serious – nature does things that appear cruel.
Silly – maybe Round-Up herbicide in the ocean would kill the algae.