Can we clean up, stop, or end harmful algal blooms?

Harmful algal blooms — often referred to as HABs for short — occur when algae produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds, or other aquatic organisms. Blooms occur in marine and freshwater environments throughout the world, with damaging ecological, social, and economic effects. So why can’t we clean up the algae and take care of this problem? Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. Harmful algal blooms are a natural process. There are records of HABs from early European colonists arriving to Florida in the 1500s. However, research points to an increase in the frequency and intensity of algal blooms in modern times due to environmental changes caused by humans.

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