Nature’s own toxin – is it time to freak out yet? - Algal toxins in Baltic blue mussels

Last changed: 24 May 2021
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Maya Ahlgren


The Baltic Sea is a fragile body of water with many contributing factors damaging this marine environment. Due to the shallowness of the basins and the slow water turnover, the nutrients and contaminants take a long time to degrade. Variations in salinity make the Baltic Sea a challenging environment for marine species to acclimatize and thrive. One species that has adapted to this environment is the Baltic blue mussel. The blue mussels are filter feeders, which makes them a suitable species to use as indicators of algal toxins. Differences in algal toxin concentrations in blue mussels could therefore clarify the health status of a location.

Previous research has seen a monthly variation in algal toxin levels in blue mussels. The variation has been seen from May to October, with a distinct peak of concentrations during June-July. This thesis has zoomed in on that variation and can confirm a weekly temporal variation. Two locations, Nämdö Island and Hanö Bight, have been used to evaluate the concentration differences within blue mussels. They were collected during the consecutive weeks of July 2020. Comparisons in algal toxins levels were made between the two locations as well as the collected weeks. Environmental factors that could affect the production of algal toxins were included in the comparison. The comparison showed that the blue mussels at Nämdö Island contained more algal toxins than those at the Hanö Bight. These results add to the knowledge regarding regional and temporal concentration differences of algal toxins.


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About me

Maya Ahlgren

I am a positive and goal-oriented environmental consultant who has a special affection for our oceans and marine life. I believe that more focus should be put on our aquatic life, not only because it is the reason for all our planets functioning ecosystems, but also because of the constant harm afflicted on it globally by various sectors. As a qualified divemaster, I have witnessed the harm beneath the oceans first hand, and I will continue to strive every day for a better future for our oceans. Do not hesitate to get in touch with me!

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