Maine Public interviews Wells about toxic algae bloom
Mark Wells, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Maine, spoke with Maine Public for the report, “Shellfish harvesters, scientists wrestle with ‘unprecedented’ closures amid toxic algae bloom.” For the first time, a pseudo-nitzschia bloom is plaguing a large swathe of Casco Bay, which has been closed to shellfish harvesting for nearly three weeks, according to the article. The biological characteristics of the particular strain of pseudo-nitzschia in question — pseudo-nitzschia australis — are not well understood, Maine Public reported. “The reason they produce the toxin, we just don’t know,” said Wells, who has been studying toxic blooms on the West Coast for years. He said the recent East Coast blooms may be associated with temperatures in the Gulf of Maine’s waters, which are warming faster than most water bodies worldwide. “We’re wondering whether the warming in the surface may actually be selecting more for pseudo-nitzschia, so that in the fall, when the bloom happens, there’s more of a chance that pseudo-nitzschia will be the ones that are blooming,” Wells said. Smithsonian.com also reported on toxic algae blooms, citing the Maine Public report and Wells.