Harmful algal blooms: causes, impacts and detection

  • Kevin G. Sellner
  • Gregory J. Doucette
  • Gary J. Kirkpatrick
Review Paper

Abstract

Blooms of autotrophic algae and some heterotrophic protists are increasingly frequent in coastal waters around the world and are collectively grouped as harmful algal blooms (HABs). Blooms of these organisms are attributed to two primary factors: natural processes such as circulation, upwelling relaxation, and river flow; and, anthropogenic loadings leading to eutrophication. Unfortunately, the latter is commonly assumed to be the primary cause of all blooms, which is not the case in many instances. Moreover, although it is generally acknowledged that occurrences of these phenomena are increasing throughout the world's oceans, the reasons for this apparent increase remain debated and include not only eutrophication but increased observation efforts in coastal zones of the world. There is a rapidly advancing monitoring effort resulting from the perception of increased impacts from these HABs, manifested as expanding routine coastal monitoring programs, rapid development and deployment of new detection methods for individual species, toxins, and toxicities, and expansion of coastal modeling activities towards observational forecasts of bloom landfall and eventually bloom prediction. Together, these many efforts will provide resource managers with the tools needed to develop effective strategies for the management and mitigation of HABs and their frequently devastating impacts on the coastal environment.

Keywords

Harmful algal blooms Detection Molecular techniques Remote sensing Modeling 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors express their gratitude to a number of colleagues who provided data, information, comment, photographic material, access to unpublished results, and figures with very short notice: S. Azevedo, D. Caron, P. Donaghay, Q. Dortch, M. Estrada, D. Fries, P. Gentien, R. Gordon, R. Horner, J. Jellett, B. Keafer, J. Kleindinst, R. Kudela, G. Nolan, E.-L. Poutanen, N. Rabalais, B. Reguera, J. Rensel, K. Saito, C. Scholin, C. Sieracki, R.E. Turner, F. Van Dolah, and J. Walsh.

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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin G. Sellner
    • 1
  • Gregory J. Doucette
    • 2
  • Gary J. Kirkpatrick
    • 3
  1. 1.Chesapeake Research ConsortiumEdgewaterUSA
  2. 2.Marine Biotoxins Program, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular ResearchNOAA/National Ocean ServiceCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Mote Marine LaboratorySarasotaUSA

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