Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 18 Issue 02

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Volume 18, No. 2
Pages 228 - 237

Monitoring Approaches for Early Warning of Domoic Acid Events in Washington State

Vera L. Trainer Marc Suddleson
First Paragraph

On the U.S. west coast, blooms of the potentially toxic diatom Pseudo-nitzschia can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), resulting in economic impacts to coastal economies and public health concerns. The transfer of toxin, via filter feeding of Pseudo-nitzschia or ingestion of filter feeding organisms, to shellfish, crustaceans, seabirds, finfish, and marine mammals has led to mortalities of brown pelicans, Brandt’s cormorants, and sea lions. A unique problem on the outer coast of the Olympic peninsula in Washington State, is that the Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula (Figure 1), can retain high concentrations of the algal toxin, domoic acid (DA), for over one year (Wekell et al., 1994; Adams et al., 2000). During toxic events, recreational, commercial, and tribal subsistence harvest of clams, valued at over $20 million annually (Anderson, 1995), is suspended and public health is threatened.


Trainer, V.L., and M. Suddleson. 2005. Monitoring approaches for early warning of domoic acid events in Washington state. Oceanography 18(2):228–237, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2005.56.