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IMPACT OF HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS ON SEA TURTLE HEALTH  

Sea Turtle
 A juvenile green sea turtle that was sampled and tagged for the study is ready to be released at Florida's Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve. Photo credit Annie Page-Karjian

Lynda F. Rysavy | 3/26/2020

FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professors Annie Page-Karjian and Matthew Ajemian team with biologists at Loggerhead Marinelife Center and Inwater Research Group to better understand how exposure to toxin-producing harmful algal bloom (HAB) species impact sea turtle health in Florida's coastal waters.

The study published in Toxicon: X, establishes concentrations of 10 HAB toxins in plasma samples from green turtles (Chelonia mydas) foraging in Florida's Big Bend. Domoic acid, lyngbyatoxin-A, microcystins, nodularin, and okadaic acid were detected, demonstrating exposure to these HAB toxins, which are also a public health concern.

The research was funded by a grant from the HBOI Foundation, as part of the Florida Center for Coastal and Human Health.


Work was conducted by authorized individuals under NOAA-NMFS permit #21169, FWC Marine Turtle Permits #139 and #204.