Many studies have been conducted to watch for red algal blooms. These red blooms are indirectly toxic to humans, because filter feeding mussels eat the algae. The toxins are passed to humans when ingested, which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
Scientists follow algae cysts that settle during colder times of the year, in order to monitor the severity of algae blooms. When toxicity levels become to high local fisheries are shut down to protect human health. Alexandrium fundyense is a toxic algae being monitored by the NOAA scientists in the Gulf of Maine. Over the past few years Alexandrium fundyense dormant cysts have been increasing in abundance and producing large blooms. These algae are transported, by winds and currents, a large distance on the New England coast Near the end of 2009 water samples surveyed an abundance of cysts in the water, leading to the prediction of a severe and toxic algae bloom.
Severe Red Tides Predicted for 2010