Algal Blooms Impact Sealions
New Scientist this week report that algal
red tides are affecting marine creatures in ways that we could not have contemplated. It appears that rge red tides are causing sea
lions to stray into areas where you would not normally find them, including pools and parking lots.
medical equipment is offering a peek inside the animals' skulls to
discover what causes such bizarre behaviour.
Eric Montie of the University of South Florida in St Petersburg studied wild sea
lions, including some that showed symptoms of poisoning by domoic acid
- the neurotoxin secreted by the algae.' Using an 'MRI scanner to image their brains, [Montie] found that the
hippocampus of sick animals was half the size of that in healthy ones.
The hippocampus controls an animal's spatial awareness, which could
explain why poisoned sea lions often get lost.'
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