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UNH researchers studying loon losses look toward Granite State lakes
DURHAM — A harmful neurotoxin produced by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae blooms, in New Hampshire’s fresh-water lakes, which has been linked to ALS in humans, may be contributing to the decline of the state’s Common Loon population, according to research from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire.
NH Agricultural Experiment Station researcher Jim Haney, professor of biological sciences, and his student research team have detected high levels of liver and nerve toxins in New Hampshire loon chicks. Preliminary results indicate that the nerve toxin Beta methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA, is being biomagnified many times as it passes up the food chain, whereas the liver toxin becomes less concentrated or “biodilutes” at the higher food levels.
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