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Water-Related News

Mitigating red tide more than killing algae, researcher says

SARASOTA — Clarissa Anderson, a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has a big a job title — not only in characters, but in the magnitude of her responsibility.

She is the executive director of Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, SCCOOS, whose primary goal is to give local decision-makers in California the data they need to set better policies and understand the conditions of ocean water effected by harmful algal blooms.

“True mitigation isn’t getting rid of the algae,” Anderson said. “That’s really hard to do in the ocean. You can’t kill one organism without killing others. Our mitigation is focused on early warnings and trying to connect what’s happening in the waters to the fisheries.”

California’s red tide is called Psuedo-nitzchia and it produces neurotoxins called domoic acid. The chemical is lethal to fish, birds and marine mammals, most noticeably California sea lions.