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Harmful Algae & Red Tides


In Computer Models and Seafloor Observations, Researchers See Potential for Significant 2008 “Red Tide” Season

Researchers from WHOI and North Carolina State University are preparing for a potentially big bloom of harmful algae in New England waters this spring. A combination of abundant beds of algal seeds and excess winter precipitation have set the stage for an Alexandrium bloom similar to the historic “red tide” of 2005. Weather patterns and ocean conditions over the next few months will determine whether this year’s algal growth affects coastal shellfishing.

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Anderson Addresses UN Ocean Commission

Anderson Addresses UN Ocean Commission

Senior Scientist Don Anderson of the WHOI Biology Department was invited to deliver the Bruun Memorial Lecture in June at the 23rd annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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Red Tide—Gone for Now, But Back Next Year?

Red Tide—Gone for Now, But Back Next Year?

The historic bloom of toxic algae that blanketed New England’s waters and halted shellfishing from Maine to Martha’s Vineyard in the spring of 2005 is over. But scientists are now wondering if there will be an encore.

Before departing, the algae likely left behind a colonizing population that may promote blooms in southern New England for at least the next few years.

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Seeing Red in New England Waters

Seeing Red in New England Waters

Coastal resource managers shut down shellfish beds in three New England states in mid-May—including rare closures of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay—because of an intense bloom of the toxic algae Alexandrium fundyense. Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution saw the ‘red tide’ coming before its toxic effects reached the shore.

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Risks and Remedies from the Sea

Risks and Remedies from the Sea

Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have embarked on a novel collaboration to investigate harmful algal blooms, ocean-borne pathogens, and potential pharmaceuticals from marine sources.

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A Fatal Attraction for Harmful Algae

A Fatal Attraction for Harmful Algae

Estuaries are the borderlands between salt and freshwater environments, and they are incredibly diverse

both biologically and physically. The diversity and the high

energy of the ecosystem make estuaries remarkably resilient.

With a better understanding of these systems, we can reverse

their decline and restore the ecological richness of these

valuable, albeit muddy, environments.

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Red Tides and Dead Zones

Red Tides and Dead Zones

The most widespread, chronic environmental problem in the coastal ocean is caused by an excess of chemical nutrients. Over the past century, a wide range of human activities—the intensification of agriculture, waste disposal, coastal development, and fossil fuel use—has substantially increased the discharge of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients into the environment. These nutrients are moved around by streams, rivers, groundwater, sewage outfalls, and the atmosphere and eventually end up in the ocean.

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The Growing Problem of Harmful Algae

The Growing Problem of Harmful Algae

Harmful algal blooms are natural and they are not new. But ocean scientists are growing concerned that they are now all too common. The unprecedented growth of human activities in coastal watersheds—including agriculture, aquaculture, industry, housing, and recreation—has drastically increased the amount of fertilizer flowing into coastal waters and fueled unwanted algal growth.

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