Algal Identification

Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful Algal Blooms in Maryland

Pseudo-nitzschia seriata

Pseudo-nitzschia seriata has been widespread throughout the spring in low densities in the main Bay and lower estuaries of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.  Diatoms in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia are recognized worldwide as potential producers of the toxin domoic acid. Shellfish feeding on toxic Pseudo-nitzschia can accumulate the poison. Humans consuming the contaminated shellfish can experience Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP). Cases of Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning have been reported from the western and northeast coast of the North America. ASP toxin has recently been identified as a problem in the viscera of Dungeness crab, tanner crab, red rock crab, and anchovies along the west coast of the United States. No known cases of Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning in Maryland waters have been recorded.