Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning

Erica Cheries & Claire Ingram

1. What Causes a Dead Zone

A dead zone is caused by the farmers who fertilize their crops and that fertilizer runs off into the surrounding rivers. The rivers then open up into the ocean, more specifically the Gulf of Mexico and the overabundance of nutrients enhances the overgrowth of algae, which then sinks and decomposes. The algae decomposing takes up much of the oxygen supply for the marine life causing the marine life in these areas to die if they cannot swim out of this low oxygen zone.
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2. What Types of Organisms are involved?

The organisms that make the concentration of oxygen dangerously low are a type of algae called Karenia brevis and they also create brevetoxins a toxin which contaminates shellfish. Brevetoxins can accumulate in shellfish when they are exposed to these dead zones which then affect humans who harvest shellfish from these dead zone areas. Illnesses within humans result from eating contaminated shellfish that has been harvested from an area with these Karenia Brevis and brevetoxins in the water.

3.What are the ecological impacts, which species are affected and how is the environment affected?

The ecological impacts can be very large. Beaches may close, species begin to die off, humans begin having health effects if they have eaten something affected or been in the water affected or even inhaling the air near the toxins.

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4. What are the economic impacts?

The shellfish industry is heavily impacted due to fearful buyers if known someone who had it or heard of NSP, there also a loss of money in the marine recreational field. This affects the whole fish market from the fisherman themselves to the restaurants who sell them.

6. What can be done to reduce, eliminate, or manage access nutrients and solve this issue?

A big thing that leads to NSP is harvest shellfish during or near after a red tide. If we stopped doing this, it would definitely eliminate many cases of NSP. NSP is caused by eating contaminated shellfish. A way avoid it would be to stop eating shellfish completely. This would probably be the most effective way to avoid it.

Works cited

MLA Works Cited

Anderson, Donald M., Porter Hoagland, Yoshi Kaoru, and Alan W. White. "Estimated Annual Economic Impacts from Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the United States." (2000): n. pag. Web.

Hemming, Laura E. "Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning." Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning. , NIEHS Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.

Watkins, Sharon M., Andrew Reich, Lora E. Fleming, and Roberta Hammond. "Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning." Marine Drugs. Molecular Diversity Preservation International, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.

"Shellfish Poisoning: Get Facts on First Aid for Paralysis." EMedicineHealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.

Anderson, Donald M., Dr. "Harmful Algae." Harmful Algae. NOAA, n.d. Web. 31 July

2012. <


Armstrong, John H., MD. "Shellfish Poisoning." Florida Health. Florida

Department of Health, n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.



Milbourn, Cathy. "News Releases issued by the Office of Chemical Safety and

Pollution Prevention." EPA. United States Environmental Protection Agency,

n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2016. <



"What is a Dead Zone?" NOAA. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,

n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. <