sp01u3p2 - Unit Three Red Tide and Harmful Algal Blooms...

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Unit Three Red Tide and Harmful Algal Blooms Project Oceanography Spring 2001 36 Unit III Red Tide and Harmful Algal Blooms Researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI) are on the edge of scientific discovery. They are working to discover the mysteries of Gymnodinium breve ( G. breve ), the dinoflagellate responsible for Florida’s red tide. Their work is focusing on the life cycle of this troublesome alga and better ways of tracking its blooms . They are also working in collaboration with a consortium of agencies to more quickly identify toxicity in shellfish and thus shorten the time that aquacultural businesses need to be closed for public health purposes. Toxic Algae Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Identify and describe an organism that causes Red Tide Name three diseases caused by harmful algal blooms (HABs) Describe the ecological implications of HABs Key concepts: plankton, phytoplankton, photosynthesis, dinoflagellate, diatom, HAB harmful algal bloom (HAB), toxin Harmful Algal Blooms Plankton are organisms that float near the top of the ocean. They cannot swim against a current but must float from place to place or use primitive means for motility. Some plankton are microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton or microalgae. These organisms are the base of the ocean food chain. They produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis , much like their land plant counterparts. Some phytoplankton are further classified as either dinoflagellates or diatoms . Dinoflagellates can be distinguished by two dissimilar flagella or whiplike structures that are used to move them through the water column. Diatoms have a two- part cell wall made of silica, called a frustule . Some of these microalgae produce toxins . Under favorable growth conditions, millions of cells become concentrated in the water, releasing their toxins and causing a harmful algal bloom (HAB ). Most of these blooms are caused by dinoflagellates, but some are caused by diatoms. These blooms discolor the water changing it to yellow, orange, pink, brown, or red depending on the organism causing the bloom and the concentration of the organism. In the past, all HABs
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Unit Three Red Tide and Harmful Algal Blooms Project Oceanography Spring 2001 37 were called red tides, no matter what the water color. Today scientists prefer to use the term harmful algal bloom, because it more accurately describes the phenomenon. Harmful algal blooms have been reported worldwide for centuries. They are naturally occurring phenomena that in some places have been triggered by pollution. They affect marine organisms and can result in large fish kills.
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