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NOAA and California HAB Research Community Make Progress in Building a State-Wide Harmful Algal Bloom Alert Network

At the Regional Workshop for HABs in California Coastal Waters this past April, program managers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and their partners in the California harmful algal bloom community agreed to work together to develop a statewide HAB alert system for California. This group consists of researchers, marine animal, public health and water quality managers.

Participants acknowledged the importance of creating a new system to improve the response of managers and scientists to HAB events, such as allowing for more rapid and targeted closures of shellfish beds and better management of impacted marine life.

NCCOS efforts to understand and predict HAB events and assist the state and NOAA mitigate their impacts will benefit from data generated by this system. Since April, significant progress has been made to implement this vision including the formation of a steering committee, agreeing to name the new system the California HAB Monitoring and Alert Program (HABMAP), and creating a new statewide list serve that has opened new lines of communication about bloom-related observations, and the release of a final workshop report.

The steering committee is spearheading efforts to complete additional key actions identified by workshop participants including developing a HABMAP website, conducting an inter-laboratory, intercalibration study of HAB detection and identification methods, and undertaking a regional data pilot study that builds on an existing regional project, Cal-PREeMPT, and working to raise awareness within California of the need to realize the vision of a statewide HAB alert system for California.

NCCOS HAB Research Partners in California

  • University of California Santa Cruz (MERHAB Cal-PREeMPT)
  • University of Southern California (MERHAB RAPDALERT)
    collaborative work are contributing to the understanding of the relationship between toxic HAB blooms and the coastal oceanography of this highly urbanized region.
  • California Department of Health Services Preharvest Shellfish Protection and Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program
  • The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
  • The California Ocean Science Trust

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