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NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the Rutgers University Haskin Shellfish Laboratory a $172,707 grant to develop computer models to predict the impact of brown tides on hard clams off New Jersey. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The research will examine the effects a harmful algal bloom known as the Long Island Brown Tide has on the hard clam population in the Barnegat Bay/Little Egg Harbor system of New Jersey. The tide has become common in shallow coastal estuaries of the mid-Atlantic and has caused mass die-offs and spawning failures of commercially important clams and mussels. The project will develop a model that managers can use to predict impacts of the brown tide and other environmental factors on hard clams, based on parameters determined experimentally as part of the project.

“Harmful algal blooms are a serious economic and public health problem all over the world, so it is imperative that we develop preemptive models that managers can use to protect commercially important species,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA and the Bush Administration are working to improve the understanding of our environment and to strengthen local and regional initiatives like those run by Rutgers University.”

The grant is administered by the NOAA Ocean Service’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program. This research will be conducted in collaboration with researchers from Old Dominion University, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Science, Research and Technology, the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute of Marine Biosciences and the University of Connecticut.

ECOHAB seeks to produce new, state-of-the-art detection methodologies for harmful algal blooms and their toxins, to understand the causes and dynamics of harmful algal blooms, to develop forecasts of their growth, transport, and toxicity, and to predict and ameliorate impacts on higher trophic levels and humans. The Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory is a New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and a field station for the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences of Rutgers University.

Each year, NOAA Ocean Service’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research awards approximately $30 million in grants to members of the academic, state and scientific communities to assist NOAA in fulfilling its mission to study our coastal oceans in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property, and provide decision makers with reliable and timely scientific information. NOAA-sponsored competitive research programs such as ECOHAB demonstrate NOAA's commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 34 years.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:

Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms: