Since 1993 the IOC has conducted training courses on harmful microalgae. The purpose has been to improve the taxonomic and identification skills of the participants for research purposes and for practical monitoring of harmful algal blooms.

From 2006 the IOC training in HAB identification has been offered within a new framework which gives accreditation. The present course includes now a practical exam at the end of the course with an IOC Certificate of Proficiency in Identification of Harmful Algae issued to participants who pass the exam. We know by experience that many of the more than 500 trainees we have had over the years have wished the courses to give accreditation, and in some countries, the IOC courses have become a reference for laboratories to be approved for carrying out regulatory monitoring for harmful microalgae.

The IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae, University of Copenhagen, Denmark is organizing the course. 


IOC Training Course and Identification Qualification in Harmful Marine Microalgae including optional workshops on enumeration and culture techniques, 2021

Course description:

The IOC course normally takes place annually, usually in August in Denmark. However, considering the COVID-19 situation, it is not possible to organize a course in August 2021 in the usual format with practical microscopy of cultures and samples of HAB species.

Therefore, the IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae at the University of Copenhagen offers a distance learning course  on the UNESCO teaching platform, OceanTeacher (OT) as a Part 1, with a follow-up practical course on species identification when the COVID-19 situation allows for this. This Part 2 includes 60 hours of teaching and a microscope will be available to each participant during the entire period.

The e-learning course will be held as a separate course and therefore it will be possible to participate in this course only. However, it is a prerequisite for participation in the practical course that the e-learning course has been completed. The distance learning course will not include an exam and the participants will receive a certificate of attendance after completing course. The practical course will finish with a 3-hour exam in species identification qualifying for the ‘Certificate of Proficiency’.

Part 1 in OceanTeacher consists of 11 modules including:

  1. Introductions to the various groups of HAB species as pdf-files prepared for self-study
  2. Questions and exercises, e.g. photos for id.
  3. Weekly ‘zoom’-meetings with the teacher running the modules

Participants: The course is aimed at participants who have some years of practical experience in identification of microalgae. The number of participants is limited to 16. 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: The course will start on 1 September  2021 and run for 2½-3 months  on the IOC UNESCO teaching platform ‘OceanTeacher’ 

Venue (Part 2): IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, c/o Danhostel, Lejrskolevej 4, 3400 Hillerød.

Language: English.

Course lecturers: Dr. Heléne Annadotter, Dr. Santiago Fraga, Dr. Jacob Larsen, Dr. Nina Lundholm, Professor Øjvind Moestrup.

Enquiries may be sent to Jacob Larsen,


The course fee for the two parts of the course will be invoiced separately. The fee for the e-learning course is 1100 EUR. The fee for the 11-days practical identification course in Denmark will be 2500 EUR depending on the actual coasts of lodging and will cover all expenses (accommodation, meals, course material, tuition, and exam) during the course, but not travel expenses. We hope that the course in Denmark can be organized late 2021 or early 2022, and the dates will be decided in agreement with the participants.

The fee for the e-learning course covers:

  • Access to the e-learning course on Ocean Teacher – the course will start om 1 September 2021 and run for 2½-3 months as out-lined above
  • Hard copies of the following three books which will be sent to the participants by courier

– Hallegraeff, G.M., Anderson, D.M., Cembella, A.D. (eds) 2004. Manual on harmful marine microalgae, – Monographs on oceanographic methodology 11, Unesco, Paris, 793 pp.

– Hoppenrath, M., Murray, S.A., Chomérat, N. & Horiguchi, T. 2014. Marine Benthic Dinoflagellates: Unveiling Their Worldwide Biodiversity. – Kleine Senckenberg-Reihe, Volume: 54, 1-276.

– 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.

The fee for Part 2 is a package deal which covers all expenses during the course period; thus

  • Accommodation, arriving to the course venue on the day before, check-in from 16.00, and check-out on last day at 10.00
  • All meals during the course, starting with an evening meal upon arrival and finishing with breakfast on departure day.

Dead-line for application for the distance learning HAB course is 1 June 2021

Application form 

Course Programme

Course fee detailes and payment instructions