I recently presented my research at a conference on harmful algal blooms (HABs)! HABs are colonies of single-celled, photosynthetic organisms that harm people, animals, or ecosystems. They can produce toxins and cause terrifying illnesses like amnesic shellfish poisoning (with symptoms including disorientation and short-term memory loss) and paralytic shellfish poisoning (which can cause heartbreaking paralysis in manatees). HABs can also look truly disgusting, even from outer space. There is evidence to suggest that HABs are increasing in intensity and frequency due to human pollution and climate change. Want to help prevent HABs? Try to limit the amount of fertilizer you use in your yard and maintain your septic system. And make sure to protect yourself (and your pets!) from possible exposure.