Nature cites Wells in article on effects of climate change on algal blooms

Mark Wells, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Maine who studies harmful algal blooms, was mentioned in the Nature article, “Climate change is making algal blooms worse.” Harmful algal blooms can occur when changes in water conditions lead to an increased growth in the number of a particular species of algae. The blooms can produce toxins, become so large that they kill marine life, and turn water a different color, according to the article. A new study has shown how warming ocean temperatures have already driven an intensification of blooms around North America — the first time this link has been established at an ocean scale, the article states. According to Wells, rising temperatures alone may not always cause more harmful algal blooms. In 2010 in the Gulf of Maine, he said, there were high water temperatures, and many blooms were expected. But in fact, water temperatures were so high that the layers of seawater became stratified and prevented mixing and the transfer of nutrients, so in the end there were fewer blooms than expected. Still, Wells said, the latest study “provides a lot of new evidence” and represents a believable trend.