Bloom. It doesn’t sound that bad. The word may conjure up the image of spring crocuses popping up out of the ground. But start talking about harmful algal blooms, Pseudo-nitzschia, and domoic acid poisoning and people begin to realize that something more threatening is happening. Last week during the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, researchers warned that abnormally warm Pacific waters, commonly referred to as the “blob,” were linked to a record-setting harmful algal bloom outbreak along the west coast of the United States. To make matters worse, this outbreak could be exacerbated by the current El Niño event.