Analytical Response Team
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly recognized for their negative impacts
on coastal ecosystems around the world. The natural toxins produced by various species
of marine phytoplankton are the most common cause of marine mortality events involving
marine mammals, fish and seabirds, and are a threat to human health.
of algal toxins has historically been elusive due to the complexity of toxin composition
and challenges to quantifying the very low levels of toxins that can be lethal to
marine wildlife. Managers of coastal resources need accurate information, and need
it in time to make informed decisions involving shellfish harvest, life support
for marine wildlife, beach closures and remedial actions.
The NOAA Analytical Response Team (ART) was established to provide a formal framework through
which coastal managers may request immediate coordinated assistance during harmful
algal blooms and related health incidents. ART acts as one of the primary responders
to HABs and associated mortality events, providing rapid and accurate identification
of harmful algae and their associated toxins. This identification and analytical
capability provides support for management agencies that can then make timely and
informed decisions impacting stakeholders involved in coastal wildlife, human health
ART is designed on the principals of a sense-and-respond unit. The team is comprised of
early event listeners, a multidisciplinary team of event assessors from diverse
scientific backgrounds, and a team leader responsible of designing an event-specific
Key to the success of the team is that the response is based upon the
unique expertise and experience of each individual rather than a pre-designed response,
and that all team members work together on a daily basis in a mission-based Program.
This approach represents a revolutionary design in business in which "business is
an adaptive system for responding to unanticipated requests in unpredictable environment".