A toxic blue-green algae that choked the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area last summer has shown up in dolphins with brain disease. Researchers tested 14 stranded dolphins from Florida and Massachusetts, areas the study notes as having relatively frequent harmful algal blooms. All but one of the dolphins test positive for the cyanobacterial neurotoxin known as BMAA as well as brain disease.
Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani spent much of last summer speaking to local groups about water quality concerns over the blue-green algae. He said the study reinforces his concerns that local waters could be detrimental to residents and visitors.
“These results are pretty insidious because we’re seeing strandings and mortalities when there currently isn’t a harmful algal bloom,” Cassani said. “These dolphins are feeding on fish and crabs and other aquatic animals and are building up the BMAA in the food chain.”