Brown Tide Devastating Long Island’s Great South Bay Shellfish

Widespread outbreak of a microscopic algal bloom known as "brown tide" in Long Island's Great South Bay threatens shellfish industry. Photograph courtesy NOAA.
Widespread outbreak of a microscopic algal bloom known as "brown tide" in Long Island's Great South Bay threatens shellfish industry. Photograph courtesy NOAA.

July 2, 2000  Stony Brook, New York - Biologists in the Marine Sciences Research Center at State University of New York at Stony Brook are puzzled by the vigorous brown tide algal bloom this spring that has killed off most of the shellfish in Long Island's Great South Bay. Part of the problem, in addition to the more traditional link of algal blooms to pesticide and fertilizer runoffs from land, is global warming. Winter 2000 was warmer than normal and Spring 2000 was the warmest spring on record in the United States. But no one expected brown tide algae to persist through the winter and then flourish and spread as far as it has in the Great South Bay.

 

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