1 Jun 2016

NWIC Students and Faculty Join UW & NOAA Scientists in Deployment of Oceanographic Instrumentation to Detect Harmful Algal Blooms off Washington’s Coastline

OceanScience_Donna DanFour students from Northwest Indian College (NWIC) participated in an oceanographic cruise that deployed an underwater instrument called the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) to detect harmful algal blooms, also known as red tides. Placed off the coast of La Push, WA on May 23rd, the ESP measures the abundance of harmful algal bloom species and the concentration of the neurotoxin they produce, called domoic acid. Marine shellfish and finfish can bio-accumulate domoic acid and transfer the toxin to humans, causing gastrointestinal sickness and neurological effects such as short-term memory loss. The ESP collects samples every two to three days and the information is displayed in near-real time on the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) website, which is accessible to everyone. State coastal managers, public health officials, and coastal tribes will use the data as an early warning system to test for shellfish toxins and manage local shellfish fisheries. NWIC students Donna Dan, Jefferon Emm, Olivia Hamilton, and Julie Solomon assisted University of Washington oceanographer Jan Newton with collecting water samples to measure chlorophyll, oxygen, and nutrients in the ocean. The ESP is part of a OceanScience_ESP Groupmulti-million dollar research project funded by NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System program and awarded to eight project partners including NWIC. As part of this plan, students from NWIC will conduct outreach at Quileute Tribal School this summer, focusing on harmful algal blooms and water quality.”


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