August 2018 - Harmful Algal Blooms

Calendar wallpaper of frog in lillies.

Harmful Algal Blooms

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Have you seen a green film covering the Inland Bays and many of Delaware’s creeks and ponds each summer? These films are algae, microscopic marine plants, blooming across the water’s surface where sunlight is plentiful.

While most algae are harmless, some species can produce toxins that are harmful to fish, frogs, birds, marine mammals, and even humans. To monitor for when these harmful algae are present, the University of Delaware runs a citizen science program that enables volunteers to take water samples and provide important water quality data to scientists. At the same time, Delaware Sea Grant funds research to better understand why harmful algae bloom so that we might develop ways to control these toxin-producing species.

4 - US Coast Guard Day - U.S. Coast Guard Day honors the military branch that protects our waters and shorelines. Celebrate today by learning more about the responsibilities and functions of this branch of our nation’s military service.

7 - National Lighthouse Day - Delaware was once home to as many as 15 lighthouses stretching from Fenwick Island north all the way to the Christina River. Today, many of these lighthouses have been removed, but you can still visit historic houses by following the Southern Delaware Lighthouse Trail.

9-13 Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks - This annual meteor shower centered around the constellation Perseus runs from mid-July to mid-August, but reaches its peak around these dates with 60 or more meteors per hour streaming across the night sky.

27 - Back to School Week - Teachers, interested in bringing marine science to your students in the new year? Check out our wide range of educational resources.

28 - Henry Hudson Enters the Delaware Bay - During his quest to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean, Henry Hudson sailed into Delaware Bay and claimed it for the Dutch on this day in 1609. Today, Delaware Sea Grant funds study of an emerging marine pollution issue in the bay that Hudson certainly didn’t encounter during his time: microplastics.    

Michael Graw