Background on Brown Tide Blooms, Aureococcus anophagefferens (A.a.)

Massive brown tide blooms, caused by the rapid growth of a minute pelagophycean alga (ca. 3 µm), Aureococcus anophagefferens, were first observed in 1985 along the northeast coast in non-contiguous bays in Narragansett Bay, RI, Peconic Bay and Great South Bay systems of Long Island, NY and caused the devastation of the scallop industry in L.I. These blooms were suspected in Barnegat Bay, NJ at the same time, because of the yellow-brown discoloration of the water, but were not confirmed.

In 1995, brown tide blooms were first documented in Little Egg Harbor (in southern Barnegat Bay) Tuckerton, NJ and were associated with the reduction in growth of hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria, at a commercial aquaculture facility. Brown tide blooms were also reported in New Jersey's Barnegat Bay in 1997 and 1999. While they are not considered to be a human health threat (in terms of bathing or seafood consumption), they may cause significant negative impacts to shellfish (hard clams, mussels, scallops) and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs).

There are several hypotheses concerning the promotion of brown tide blooms but they don't seem to be associated with inputs of inorganic nutrients – which promote other algal blooms. However, multiple ecological factors are associated with A.a. blooms including reduced estuarine flushing rates, elevated salinities, meteorological forcing unusual winter and spring drought periods, iron, and organic nutrients.


State Agencies/Organizations

New Jersey

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP)
Division of Science, Research and Technology-Brown Tide Newsletters:

New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring (Annual Summary of Phytoplankton Blooms in the New Jersey Coastal Waters):
(Go to program units, land use management, water monitoring management, Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring.)

NJ Marine Sciences Consortium/NJ Sea Grant:


Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

New York

New York Sea Grant:

Suffolk County Department of Health Services:
(search for brown tide)

Federal Governmental Agencies

National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research/Coastal Ocean Program:

United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)

U.S. Department of Agriculture:

Brown Tide Directories

Brown Tide Clearinghouse: An online directory:

Academic/Research Institutions and Consortia, Laboratories and Digital Libraries
Brown Tide Research Institute (BTRI):

Academic/Research Institutions and Consortia, Laboratories and Digital Libraries

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI):
(search: Brown Tides)

Bigelow Lab:

Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms:

Harmful Algae Data Links:

Harmful Algae Digital Library:

The National Science and Technology Council:

Texas Brown Tides:

Harmful Algae Journals:

Site maintained by the Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA), Cook College, Rutgers University. Web site created by Scott Haag Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve. Site last updated May23, 2003.