> Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 19, Number 2

2006, Oceanography 19(2):94–106, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.72

Harmful Algal Blooms at the Interface Between Coastal Oceanography and Human Health

Authors | First Paragraph | Full Article | Citation


Lorraine C. Backer | Emerging Environmental Threats Team, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, GA, USA

Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr. | Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health, and Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA


First Paragraph

Algal blooms are a common occurrence in aquatic environments. A subset of these blooms poses environmental or public-health threats, and it is therefore referred to as "harmful algal blooms," or HABs. Some HABs are harmful by virtue of their sheer biomass, whereas others are associated with algal blooms capable of producing toxins. During a HAB event, algal toxins can accumulate in predators and organisms higher up the food web. Toxins may also be present in ambient waters, where wave action or human activities can create aerosols containing toxins and cellular debris. Animals, including humans, can thus be exposed to HAB-related toxins when they eat contaminated seafood, have contact with contaminated water, or inhale contaminated aerosols.


Full Article

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Backer, L.C., and D.J. McGillicuddy, Jr. 2006. Harmful algal blooms at the interface between coastal oceanography and human health. Oceanography 19(2):94–106, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.72.