Researchers use satellite images to identify harmful algae

Video: Mark Shwartz / Images courtesy of Mike Beman, Stanford and NASA
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Stanford University scientists have found direct evidence linking agricultural runoff to potentially harmful algal blooms in the sea. The research was conducted by Mike Beman, a graduate student in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences; Kevin Arrigo, associate professor of geophysics; and Pamela Matson, dean of the School of Earth Sciences. In this video, the researchers explain how they used NASA satellite imagery to identify massive algal blooms in Mexico’s Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez. The blooms occurred just days after large coastal farms in the Yaqui Valley were treated with tons of nitrogen fertilizer.