IOC International Training Course and Identification Qualification in Harmful Marine Microalgae

6-day ‘Brush-up’ Course

 followed by a 5-day optional workshop on bHAB species

 Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang, Vietnam, 20 – 25 April / 27 April – 1May 2020


This international course is a 6-day ‘brush-up’ course aimed at participants who have previously attended IOC courses or who have several years of experience in HAB monitoring; or who want to acquire the ‘IOC Certificate of Proficiency in Identification of Harmful Algae’. The course is organized in collaboration between the Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang, Vietnam and the IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Course description: The course includes 80 hours of teaching and is divided into two parts. 1) The first part of the course is an internet teaching programme giving general introductions to the various groups of harmful algae; this part is mainly for self-study and estimated to 50 hours of reading. 2) The second part is a practical course in species identification including 30 hours of teaching and a 3-hour exam. This part of the course will focus particularly in recent taxonomic developments in HAB research. A microscope will be available to each participant during the entire period.

bHAB Workshop: The course is followed by a 5-day optional workshop with focus on bHAB species. The workshop will include an excursion and demonstration of isolation of single cells for establishment of cultures and identification.

It will be possible to participate in either events or only one of them, see application form.

Participants: The number of participants is limited to 10. If there are more applicants than available seats, priority will be given to applicants who have direct research or management responsibilities with regard to the occurrence of harmful algae.

Dates and venue: The practical part of the course (Part 2) will take place at Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang, Vietnam, 20-25 April 2020, see programme below. Part 1 will be available on the IOC UNESCO teaching platform ‘OceanTeacher’ about 2 months prior to Part 2.

The workshop will take place 27 April – 1 May 2020, see programme below.

Application: Dead-line for application is 1 March 2020, link to application will appear here.

Language: English.

Course lecturers: Dr. Jacob Larsen, Dr. Nina Lundholm, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Lam, Dr. Doan Nhu Hai. Enquiries may be sent to Jacob Larsen,

Price: The price of the ‘brush-up’ training course is 1840 USD and covers

  • Access to the distant learning programme on OceanTeacher which will be available two-three months prior to the practical course
  • Lunch and coffee breaks during the course practical part of the course, but NOT accommodation and evening meals
  • Bus shuttle morning and afternoon between hotels and the laboratory
  • Teaching material including hard copies or pdf-versions of the following books which will be distributed during the practical part of the course:
  • Hallegraeff, G.M., Anderson, D.M., Cembella, A.D. (eds) 2004. Manual on harmful marine microalgae, – Monographs on oceanographic methodology 11, Unesco, Paris (pdf-version)
  • Hoppenrath, M., Murray, S.A., Chomérat, N. & Horiguchi, T. 2014. Marine Benthic Dinoflagellates: Unveiling Their Worldwide Biodiversity. – Kleine Senckenberg-Reihe, Volume: 54, 1-276
  • Karlson, B., Cusack, C. & Bresnan, E. (eds). 2010. Microscopic and molecular methods fro quantitative phytoplankton analysis. – IOC Manuals and Guides 55, Paris, Unesco, 110 pp. (pdf-version)
  • Larsen, J. & Nguyen, N.L. (eds). 2004. Potentially toxic microalgae of Vietnamese waters. – Opera Bot. 140: 5-216 (pdf-version)
  • Lassus, P., Chomérat, N., Hess, P. & Nézan, E. 2016. Toxic and Harmful Microalgae of the World Ocean. – Denmark. International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae / Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco. IOC Manuals and Guides 68, 523 pp.
  • Reguera, B., Alonso, R., Moreira, A., Méndez, S., Dechraoui-Bottein, M.-Y. (eds). 2016. Guide for designing and implementing a plan to monotor toxin-producing microalge. 2nd ed. – IOC Gudies and Manuals 59, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of Unesco and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Paris and Vienna, 66 pp. (pdf-version)
  • Proceedings from various HAB conferences (pdf-versions)
  • Copies of all lectures given during the course
  • Use of facilities, microscopes, samples, and cultures
  • Tuition during the practical part of the course

It should be noted that hotel and dinner is NOT included in the course fee. Hotel is to be booked directly by the participants, see links below. The room rates vary from about 25 to 45 USD per night (2019 rates). You may contact Professor Nguyen Ngoc Lam, ION for further information and booking, <>;

The price of the workshop is 450 USD, and covers 1) excursion (car and boat rental, hotel 2 nights, all meals during the excursion), 2) lunch and coffee breaks on day 3-5, use of microscopes and facilities at ION. Note that hotel and evening meals on days 3-5 are NOT covered by the workshop fee.

Link to application form (to be added, they will be on the IOC website)

Part II, IOC ‘brush-up’ course, tentative programme



Morning 9-12



Afternoon 13.30-16.30



20 April

Welcome address

Lecture: Biology of harmful algae

Introductions by the participants, 15 min.

Lecture and microscope demonstration: harmful raphidophytes and dictyochophytes

Lecture and microscope demonstration: harmful haptophytes


21 April

Introduction to dinoflagellates

Lecture and microscope demonstration: Prorocentrum

Lecture and microscope demonstration: Dinophysis/Phalacroma

Lecture and microscope demonstration: Peridiniales


22 April

Lecture and microscope demonstration:


Lecture and microscope demonstration: Alexandrium


23 April

Benthic dinoflagellates: Gambierdiscus, Ostreopsis, Coolia

Lecture and microscope demonstration: Unarmoured dinoflagellates


24 April

Lecture and microscope demonstration: Pseudo-nitzschia

Mixed samples / own samples / preparation for the exam


25 April


Evaluation / Departure

 bHAB Workshop, tentative programme










27 April

Excursion, departure by car from ION at 8 am, expected arrival to hotel of Thanh Binh  at 13:30

Package Lunch is prepared.

Collection of seaweed and sediment sampes from the shore

Preparation and examination of the material


28 April

Boat excursion to the Island of Cau

Preparation and examination of the collected material


29 April

Return to ION

Further examination of the collected material

Isolation of cultures

Thursday, 30 April

Further examination of the collected material and isolation of cultures, continued

Examination of Gambierdiscus (cultures and preserved samples),

Examination of Ostreopsis and Coolia (cultures and preserved samples),


1 May

Examination of benthic species of Prorocentrum (cultures and preserved samples),

Mixed samples / own samples