Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful algal blooms are noxious growths of phytoplankton and other algae. They can cause harm either through high biomass ("red tides") or toxins. I have been studying blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense for the past eight years in the southwestern Gulf of Maine. This work was begun when I was a graduate student at WHOI, working with Dr. Don Anderson. For the past several years I have been collaborating with researchers from WHOI and the USGS, particularly Dr. Rich Signell in an extensive field and modelling project aimed at understanding the factors controlling coastal toxic dinoflagellate blooms. Here is a good description of the project.

Franks, P.J.S. and D.M. Anderson. 1992. Alongshore transport of a toxic phytoplankton
     bloom in a buoyancy current: Alexandrium tamarense in the Gulf of Maine.
     Marine Biology 112:153-164

Franks, P.J.S. and D.M. Anderson. 1992. Toxic phytoplankton blooms in the southwestern
     Gulf of Maine: testing hypotheses of physical control using historical data.
     Marine Biology 112:165-174.

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Peter J.S. Franks   pfranks@ucsd.edu
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0218