Toxic Algae and Oyster Disease in Narragansett Bay Presentation on March 26th

Coastal State Discussion Series: Toxic Algae and Oyster Disease in Narragansett Bay

Rhode Island researchers discuss impacts of emerging algal species and marine disease that may impact the state’s seafood and water resources.

Two potential threats have emerged in Narragansett Bay waters that raise concern for both the health of Rhode Island waters and the overall state of the seafood industry.

Researchers David Borkman, marine plankton expert at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography, and Roxanna Smolowitz, shellfish and fish disease expert at Roger Williams University, will discuss findings of a new harmful algae species and an oyster parasite in the second event of the Coastal State Discussion Series on Wednesday, March 26, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University Club on URI’s Kingston campus.

Borkman has been studying marine plankton in Narragansett Bay for several decades and has found a new species of algae in R.I. waters, the third observation of this species on the East Coast and the first in New England. He will discuss his findings and studies of this highly toxic species and what its presence may mean for the health of the Bay.

Smolowitz will discuss her work that looks at the transmission and impact of a new parasitic disease in the eastern oyster. This parasite has been linked to the death of oysters in Martha’s Vineyard, and its presence in Rhode Island shows a potential for significant infection of eastern oyster farms, impacting the state’s $2 million oyster industry.

This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so please contact Meredith Haas at to reserve a place or for more information. The University Club is located on Upper College Road on URI’s Kingston Campus.

The Coastal State series is sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant and the URI Coastal Institute with the support of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences. This lecture is also supported by the Rhode lsland Shellfish Management Plan.

Rhode Island Sea Grant is located at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. For more information, visit