Clay sprays control HABS; disease may affect more than salmon

September 30, 2002

Sea Grant Web Spotlight:

Introduced Species in Oregon Estuaries:

Sea Grant People in The News:

Texas Sea Grant's Gary Graham Named to Panel

Sea Grant Calendar Spotlight:

Delaware's Coast Day, October 6, 2002, Lewes, Delaware
Coast Day New Jersey, October 13, 2002, Cape May, New Jersey

Clay Sprays May Control Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, can harm fish, birds and even people who are exposed to the toxic algae. HABs come in many forms, including a red tide that regularly affects Florida waters, a brown tide organism, and Pfiestera piscicida, an algae associated with fish kills. Scientists are unsure of exactly what causes the blooms, but a Woods Hole Sea Grant research team may have come up with a way to treat the increasingly common occurrences. Don Anderson and Mario Sengco are testing the use of clay to manage and control HABs. Clay, mixed with seawater, is sprayed over the algal bloom, where it binds with the harmful organisms and sinks to the bottom. In laboratory experiments meant to mimic field conditions, results showed that the clay removed 80 to 90 percent of the toxins in 2-hour treatments.

Korea and Japan have used clay to control HABs periodically. In Korea clay is used mainly in aquaculture operations, which provide about 30 percent of Korea's fish. The concept has not caught on yet in the U.S., mainly due to water quality concerns. The WHOI project uses only native clay types, many of which come from the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Further research on water quality issues and the future feasibility of clay use to treat HABs is currently taking place. CONTACT: Mario Sengco, WHOI Sea Grant, Postdoctoral Investigator, Biology Department, WHOI, 508-289-2749, Email:

Research Suggests Fish Disease Affects More than Salmon

A bacterium thought to only infect salmon may be more widespread than previously thought, according to California Sea Grant research. Fish pathologist Ron Hedrick found that the P. salmonis bacterium could also infect white sea bass. The study began after farm-raised Chilean salmon consistently got sick and died after being placed in open-ocean net pens. The occurrence puzzled scientists for several reasons. First, the salmon eggs, not salmon, were flown to Chile and the disease was believed not to be transmitted via eggs. Also, Chile had no wild salmon living off its coasts. So where did the bacterium come from?

Since finding the bacterium in white sea bass, Hedrick now believes that P. salmonis exists in the world's oceans and is neither unique to salmon nor sea bass. Consistent with this, scientists have found similar bacteria in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.

Hedrick is now working to detect bacterial DNA and antibodies of the bacterium in hatchery and wild white sea bass. If successful, this will further support the conclusion that the bacterium is present in naturally occurring populations of marine fish. CONTACT: Ron Hedrick, Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, 530-752-3411, Email:

SEA GRANT PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Texas Sea Grant's Gary Graham Named to Panel

Texas Sea Grant marine fisheries specialist Gary Graham has been appointed the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Cooperative Research in NOAA Fisheries. The National Academy panel will address issues promoting cooperative and collaborative fisheries research programs between the academic community and NOAA Fisheries. For more information contact Graham at: Office Phone 361-972-3654, or by email at:


Introduced Species in Oregon Estuaries: A Web-based primer on Oregon invaders, this site includes a complete list of aquatic invaders found in Oregon to date, plus clear illustrations of several important species. The website's goal is to summarize the present knowledge of non-indigenous species in Oregon estuaries. Through scientific survey there is evidence that well over 100 invaders have become established in Oregon's estuaries. For more information contact: Sylvia Behrens Yamada, Office Phone: 541-737-5345 or by email at:


October 6, 2002, Lewes, Delaware
Chart your course for Coast Day 2002! Discover the fascinating world of marine science in lectures, visits to scientists in their labs, ship tours, marine critter touch tanks, children's activities, a nautical craft show, crab cake cook-off, seafood chowder challenge, delicious seafood, and much more! The national award-winning daylong Coast Day festival is now in its 26th year and is sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program. For more information contact the Marine Public Education Office, University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program & Graduate College of Marine Studies, 302-831-8083, or visit the Coast Day website at:


October 13, 2002, Cape May, New Jersey
"A Celebration of the Sea," Coast Day NJ is dedicated to helping New Jerseyans better understand and appreciate their sea and shore. Enjoy deck and dock tours, touch-tanks, music, eco-tours, demonstrations and "hands-on" interactive displays designed for participants of all ages. Tour commercial fishing vessels; try on a fisherman's "survival suit" and more all dedicated to New Jersey's marine and coastal environment. Sponsored by New Jersey Sea Grant. For more information contact: Claire Antonucci, New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, 732-872-1300 ext.22,, or visit the Coast Day NJ website at:
Sea Grant is a nationwide network of 30 university-based programs that works with coastal communities and is supported by NOAA. Sea Grant research and outreach programs promote better understanding, conservation, and use of America's coastal resources. For more information about Sea Grant visit the Sea Grant Media Center Website at:, which includes on-line keyword searchable database of academic experts in over 30 topical areas.

National Sea Grant College Program

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