As reported in the local press, recent luminescent algae bloom has a dark side, oyster mortality included.

Photo Credit: Florence 'Flo' Womacks

Photo Credit: Florence ‘Flo’ Womacks

The biggest threat is to shellfish larvae and small seed – in spat-on-shell tanks and nursery systems.  Survival could be impacted due to low dissolved oxygen (from the algal cell die off, which consumes available oxygen) or by the algal cells clogging screens in nursery systems and reducing water flow.  The algae could also impair feeding by “clogging” shellfish gills and in some cases could have toxic effects. 

There are a host of agencies working together to actively monitor the blooms – VIMS, DEQ, VDH.   Bloom locations have been reported in the lower Chesapeake Bay, including the Lynnhaven, The Lafayette and the Elizabeth Rivers.   As the summer and heat wear on, it is possible that the threat may remain in the area until cooler temperatures and higher winds arrive.

If you are a local oyster-gardener or know one, please remember to report oyster mortality to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science contact at kreece@vims.edu.

~ by Grace Moran

Special thanks to Florence ‘Flo’ Womacks for use of her photo.

2 thoughts on “As reported in the local press, recent luminescent algae bloom has a dark side, oyster mortality included.

  1. Interesting question. You might want to walk over to the Brock Environmental Center and ask Chesapeake Bay Foundation or Lynnhaven River Now staff. You could report back to us and we could all know!

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