A microscopic killer lives in SF’s waters

Author: Robyn Purchia, San Francisco Examiner
June 9, 2021
Pseudo-nitzschi diatom under microscope
Photo Credit: Charles J. Wingert

Researchers find ocean acidification threatens local fisheries

Outside the Golden Gate Bridge, in California’s coastal waters, lives a killer much smaller than the Great White shark. A certain microscopic algae, termed Pseudo-nitzschia diatoms, generate a neurotoxin called domoic acid. These diatoms bloom naturally during the spring and summer and can poison marine life and humans that consume contaminated fish and shellfish. While blooms typically disappear by fall, a massive one persisted much longer in 2015 and was responsible for the closure of California’s Dungeness crab season. Now, new research offers proof that this “abnormal” will happen more in the future, thanks to climate change.

Read the full SF Examiner story here.