Toxic tropical algae in Europe


DECRYPTION – The warming of the oceans favors the appearance on our coasts of phytoplankton that are dangerous for humans.

Due to climate change, certain toxic microalgae of tropical origin are extending their areas of expansion towards the north. An example? Last summer, the beaches of the Basque Country had to be closed by the public authorities because an efflorescence of at least one tropical microalga, of the family Ostreopsis , was identified in the Bay of Biscay, near Saint-Jean-de-Luz. No less than 800 people called the Bordeaux poison control center. Surfers suffered from respiratory problems. And simple vacationers who stayed on the beach, without entering the water, were affected by the toxin in the air which caused skin irritation and allergy symptoms, such as eyes and nose. which flow.

This microalgae was spotted for the first time on this coast in 2020. In response, the Basque Coast scientific interest group launched a research program of 400,000 euros, in conjunction with Ifremer, the University of the Basque Country…

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