The Maine Department of Marine Resources is testing samples from clams that washed up dead along Old Orchard Beach last week, the department said Thursday.

The department is looking at whether countless dead surf clams, reported last Friday, could be connected to a massive algae bloom in Casco Bay. Biologists will not know until lab results come back next week, said Kohl Kanwit, director of the department’s Public Health Bureau. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association provided satellite imagery to state officials that showed the likely presence of algae in Saco Bay, but the samples gathered from the clams will provide a more positive indication, she said.

The clams also could have died because of an abnormally high surf, Kanwit said.

Testing the clams is a low priority because commercial shellfish harvesting is prohibited in the area, meaning they do not pose a health risk to humans.

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