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Old 05-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Toxic Organism Resurfaces, Claiming Marine Animals

Toxic Organism Resurfaces, Claiming Marine Animals
By Ted Reckas

Toxic Organism Resurfaces, Claiming Marine Animals | www.lagunabeachindependent.com | Laguna Beach Independent
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The staff of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Canyon so far has battled mostly unsuccessfully to revive 16 rescued sea lions, sickened by domoic acid and transported to the animal rescue center in recent weeks. One has been released, two are still under care, and the other 13 have died.

The center's staff hopes to avoid a repeat of the 2002 season that claimed more than 120 sea lions.

Harmful algal blooms often occur in spring due to increasing daylight and an upwelling of water rich in nutrients, such as phosphate and nitrate, which are naturally occurring and also present in urban runoff. Even so, the importance of human caused factors versus naturally occurring ones is not yet fully understood by the scientific community. When these conditions combine in sufficient amounts, pseudo-nitchia, a species of phytoplankton that produces the deadly neurotoxin domoic acid, can grow wildly.
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