Temporal and Spatial Occurrence of Karenia brevis Blooms in the Northcentral Gulf of Mexico
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Temporal and Spatial Occurrence of Karenia brevis Blooms in the Northcentral Gulf of Mexico

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  • Journal Title:
    Gulf and Caribbean Research
  • Description:
    Harmful algal blooms are known to occur in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) throughout recorded history (Brand and Compton 2007). Harmful algal blooms in the GOM are commonly caused by the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis, which, through the production of brevetoxin, can impact aquatic and terrestrial life (Pierce and Henry 2008, Landsberg et al. 2009). Brevetoxin can be transmitted by ingestion, either directly or through prey consumption, or inhalation of the aerosolized toxin. At population bloom densities, brevetoxin can reach toxic levels and cause detrimental impacts on wildlife and fisheries, which in turn may also cause human intoxication through consumption of contaminated seafood and large economic losses for the seafood industry (Anderson et al. 2000). Blooms of K. brevis can also represent a direct risk to human health through toxin inhalation (Flewing et al. 2005, Anderson et al. 2007). Blooms of K. brevis are common along the coast of Texas and the southern Gulf coast of Florida, but less frequent along the Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), and Florida (FL) panhandle coasts (Tester and Steidinger 1997, Soto et al. 2018). More frequent K. brevis blooms on the southern Gulf coast of Florida may be due to higher nutrient inputs from the mainland (Brand and Compton 2007, Medina et al. 2022), whereas more frequent blooms on the Texas coast may be due to prolonged salinity increases (Tominack et al. 2020). Because of their lower occurrence, K. brevis blooms in the northcentral GOM have been less studied, and are less understood, than in other areas in the GOM. Yet, K. brevis blooms may still have a significant impact on the fisheries and economy of the northcentral GOM (Anderson et al. 2000). Here we use public data sets on K. brevis blooms collected by the states of MS (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources), AL (Alabama Department of Public Health), and FL (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) to examine the temporal and spatial occurrence of these blooms in the northcentral GOM from the Louisiana (LA)—Mississippi state line to Apalachee Bay in FL over an ~15 year period (October 2005–July 2020). Based on previous reports that have shown K. brevis blooms originating in the northeast GOM may migrate westward (Carlson and Clarke 2009, McCulloch et al. 2013, Kamykowski et al. 2013, Waters et al. 2015, Soto et al. 2018), we expect to find evidence of such migration in our study given its spatial and temporal reach. The results contribute to the characterization and understanding of K. brevis blooms in this understudied region of the GOM.
  • Source:
    Gulf and Caribbean Research, 33, SC1-SC6
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