Killer parasites could tame harmful algal blooms
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are rapidly growing algae populations that have toxic effects on people and marine animals. Due to increased human activities in our waterways, HABs are occurring more frequently. Most studies have focused on what triggers them, but few have looked at natural ways of controlling and stopping these blooms. The ParaDinoInt project is studying the interactions between dinoflagellates, single-celled motile algae, and parasitoids, smaller single-celled protists which parasitise dinoflagellates and kill their hosts. Scientists are comparing natural HAB-causing dinoflagellate and parasitoid populations during bloom and non-bloom conditions, investigating the cell-cell interactions between dinoflagellates and parasitoids in the lab, and modelling these interactions in order to harness nature and battle HABs in an environmentally friendly way.
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