Results from the HAB Arrays
What about all those toxic algae? We know a variety of harmful algae inhabit Monterey Bay … and the ESO was fitted with arrays for detecting 4 species that are seen frequently … but NONE showed up the week the ESP was deployed! The good news: the universal positive control on the SSU arrays tells us the ESP was working and did its job.
So if there were no harmful algae, what WAS out there? Samples collected and archived onboard the ESP are useful for answering that question. After developing a DNA probe array the ESP collected a sample and preserved it for microscopy. Those samples were recovered post-deployment, and using the ESP were treated with a fluorescent probe (universal positive control) that will react with all species. After processing, those samples were viewed using an epifluorescence microscope and images recorded using a CCD camera. What did we see? LOTS of dinoflagellates and plenty of invertebrates!! Centric and Pennate diatoms were very rare. Physical samples retained by the ESP in situ help to validate results of the DNA probe arrays. We also have samples that were collected for toxin analysis, but we would expect those to be free of domoic acid (associated with the Pseudo-nitzschia diatoms) and saxitoxins (associated with Alexandrium dinoflagellates) since those species appear to have been rare if present at all given results of the probe arrays.