By: Nicole Gagnon & Celine Hernandez

What causes an HAB or Dead Zone?

Many things can cause HABs or Dead Zones to happen. Some of which is plant over growth. These plants make toxins in the water that are bad for ocean species/mammals. Another way that HABs/Dead zones can form is by high temperatures and storms because of the wind and currents. These currents lead plants/nutrients down rivers and pile up, often making these zones. The Fondriest Staff (researching the effects and cases of algal blooms) say they are, "predominantly caused by photosynthetic organisms called Cyanobacteria, or blue green algae."

What types of organisms are involved in cyanobacteria?

They are one of very few groups of organisms that can convert inert otmospheric nitrogen into an organic form, such as nitrate or ammonia. Cyanobacteria blooms in the united states have been associated with the death of wildlife and domestic animals. They may pose a risk to human health through the exposure to contaminated freshwater, the ingestions of contaminated drinking water, or the consumption of contaminated fish or shellfish.

Which species (SAAOP) are affected by this type of harmful HAB or this DZ and how is the environment they live in affected?

When a high amount of cyanobacteria is present in water, it is dangerous to drink/swim in because they are full of toxins. These toxins can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, inflammation of the stomach/intestines, and liver destruction. They can also be digested through marine species. Mammals eat fish or shellfish causes these illnesses. Fish can also be affected by these HABs/Dead zones. Some may die because of the lack of sunlight. When they die, their bodies sink to the bottom. The bacteria that feed off the dead fish increase population, and use up more of the oxygen in the water causes species to die.

What are the economic impacts of cyanobacteria on the fishing industry?

Cyanobacteria can have significant economic and intercultural impacts due to the human health threats and their negative impacts on aquaculture, recreation and tourism. Result in increased treatment costs for drinking water facilities and algal mats can interfere with reservoir operations.

The geographic locations affected by the HAB the location of the DZ?

The locations affected by HABs/dead zones are as followed. Usually, Great lakes and U.S. Coastal areas are harmed by them. Other areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Coast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Caribbean/Pacific Islands are also affected by HAB/Dead zones. Some reasons why it happens in these particular areas is because of higher temperatures, large currents, and storms.

What can be done to reduce cyanobacteria?

It feeds on nitrogen and carbon, using the photosynthetic period to produce oxygen as it thickens visibly into a dark red mass throughout the lighting period daily.
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