Maine is among seven states where the federal government is funding a research project to try to better understand harmful algal blooms.

Harmful algal blooms can contaminate drinking water and have negative effects on the environment, wildlife and tourism. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is providing nearly $1.7 million for research projects about the blooms in Alaska, California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Virginia.

The Maine grant is an award of nearly $250,000 for a project led by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay and the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The institutions hope to increase the number of options available to states to monitor diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins.

DSP is a food safety threat for shellfish consumers.