NEW: Scientific Summary for Policy Makers on Harmful Algal Blooms
New publication on Harmful Algal Blooms for policy makers
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) occur in nearly all aquatic environments and can cause harm to aquatic ecosystems, including plants and animals, and to humans via direct exposure to water-borne toxins or by toxic seafood consumption. The severity and frequency of some types of HABs is increasing. In order to address this worldwide phenomenon, research, monitoring, and management must be closely integrated with policy decisions that affect our global ocean. With this in mind, a new Scientific Summary for Policymakers on Harmful Algal Blooms was launched during the 28th session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Assembly at UNESCO headquarters on 17 June 2015.
Many natural and anthropogenic factors regulate the occurrence, frequency and impact of algal events, ranging from local eutrophication, changes in climate and increased exploitation of coastal areas. The Summary considers the causes, impacts and mitigation options, including management issues associated with harmful algal events and their impacts on ecosystems and society. This overview of the current scientific understanding of harmful algal blooms and mitigation options will assist non-specialist and decisions makers in planning monitoring and management of harmful algal events to address environmental, socio-economic and health impacts.
It was prepared by the Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms research programme (GEOHAB), a joint project of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and benefited from the contributions of experts all over the world.
the Scientific Summary is freely availableonline(pdf). For printed copies, please contact:
Conference: Harmful Algal Blooms and Desalination
IPHAB recommended proceedures for automated and semi-automated HAB-monitoring and forecasting
A Task Team under the IOC Intergovernmental Panel on Harmful Algal Blooms (IPHAB) has published its recommendations for HAB-monitoring. Download the Recommendations here.
From the scientic literature:
Harmful algal blooms and climate change: Learning from the past and present to forecast the future. Mark L. Wells a,*, Vera L. Trainer b, Theodore J. Smayda c, Bengt S.O. Karlson d,Charles G. Trick e, Raphael M. Kudela f, Akira Ishikawa g, Stewart Bernard h, Angela Wulff i,
REVIEW: OCEAN CLIMATE CHANGE, PHYTOPLANKTON COMMUNITY RESPONSES, AND HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS: A FORMIDABLE PREDICTIVE CHALLENGE, by Gustaaf M. Hallegraeff, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, and School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart,Tasmania 7001, Australia. J. Phycol. 46, 220–235 (2010), 2010 Phycological Society of America, DOI: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2010.00815.x
Prediction of the impact of global climate change on marine HABs is fraught with difficulties. However, we can learn important lessons from the fossil record of dinoflagellate cysts; long-term monitoring programs, such as the Continuous Plankton Recorder surveys; and short-term phytoplankton community responses to El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) episodes.Increasing temperature, enhanced surface stratification, alteration of ocean currents, intensification or weakening of local nutrient upwelling, stimulation of photosynthesis by elevated CO2, reduced calcification through ocean acidification (‘‘the other CO2 problem’’), and heavy precipitation and storm events causing changes in land runoff and micronutrient availability may all produce contradictory species- or even strain-specific responses. Complex factor interactions exist, and simulated ecophysiological laboratory experiments rarely allow for sufficient acclimation and rarely take into account physiological plasticity and genetic strain diversity. We can expect: (i) range expansion of warm-water species at the expense of cold-water species, which are driven poleward; (ii) speciesspecific changes in the abundance and seasonal window of growth of HAB taxa; (iii) earlier timing of peak production of some phytoplankton; and (iv) secondary effects for marine food webs, notably when individual zooplankton and fish grazers are differentially impacted (‘‘match-mismatch’’) by climate change. Some species of harmful algae (e.g., toxic dinoflagellates benefitting from land runoff and ⁄ or water column stratification, tropical benthic dinoflagellates responding to increased water temperatures and coral reef disturbance) may become more successful,while others may diminish in areas currently impacted. Our limited understanding of marine ecosystem responses to multifactorial physicochemical climate drivers as well as our poor knowledge of the potential of marine microalgae to adapt genetically and phenotypically to the unprecedented pace of current climate change are emphasized. The greatest problems for human society will be caused by being unprepared for significant range expansions or the increase of algal biotoxin problems in currently
poorly monitored areas, thus calling for increased vigilance in seafood-biotoxin and HAB monitoring programs. Changes in phytoplankton communities provide a sensitive early warning for climate-driven perturbations to marine ecosystems.
ADVISORY BULLETIN OF THE GEOHAB SSC ON UREA FERTILIZATION
The GEOHAB Scientific Steering Committee has developed an Advisory Bulletin to provide sound scientific and technical advice to decision-makers in relation to proposals to add urea to the sea in order to stimulate algal blooms and sequester carbon for commercial purposes.
Download at www.geohab.info. IOC and SCOR communicated the Advisory Bulletin to the IMO London Convention Scientific Group on Ocean Fertilization. See also a 57-author view point paper in the Marine Pollution Bulletin: Gilbert et al., 2008. Ocean urea fertilization for carbon credits poses high ecological risks. Marine Pollution Bulletin, doi·:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.03.010).
1. A new manual on microscopic and molecular methods for quantitative phytoplankton analysis is available from the IOC in cooperation with ICES. The manual includes illustrated step by step instructions on how to carry out the methods. The manual can be downloaded as a pdf-file here.
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of ©UNESCO. 2010. Karlson, B., Cusack, C. and Bresnan, E. (editors). Microscopic and molecular methods for quantitative phytoplankton analysis. Paris, UNESCO. (IOC Manuals and Guides, no. 55.) (IOC/2010/MG/55), 110 pages. (English only)
2. Real-time Coastal Observing Systems for Marine Ecosystem Dynamics and Harmful Algal Blooms: Theory, Instrumentation and Modeling. Edited by Marcel Babin, Collin Roesler and John Cullen. Download order form here
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