Proposed Abstract Title

A massive harmful algal bloom on the U.S. West Coast and the future of monitoring for early warning

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and marine pathogens in a changing world

Location

2016SSEC

Description

In 2015, a massive bloom of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia, stretching from central California to northern British Columbia, resulted in significant impacts to coastal resources and marine life. This bloom was first detected in early May 2015, when Washington closed its scheduled razor clam digs on coastal beaches. It is the largest bloom in at least the past 15 years, and concentrations of domoic acid in seawater, some forage fish, and crab samples were the highest ever reported for this region. By mid-May, domoic acid concentrations in Monterey Bay, California, were 10 to 30 times the level that would be considered high for a normal Pseudo-nitzschia bloom. Impacts to coastal communities and marine life include razor clam and Dungeness crab closures in multiple states, impacting commercial, recreational and subsistence harvesters, anchovy and sardine fishery health advisories in some areas of California, and sea lion strandings in California, Oregon, and Washington. Causes of the bloom’s severity and coastwide distribution include Pseudo-nitzschia’s resilience in the unusually warm, nutrient depleted Pacific Ocean water, combined with perfectly timed storms, followed by the transition to spring upwelling conditions. This bloom highlights the need for an early warning system that can provide forecasts of the increased risk for toxic events. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) offers near real-time (~3 h), quantitative, automated, in-situ detection capabilities by filtering water samples and analyzing them onboard. Specific HAB target organisms, including Pseudo-nitzschia, are detected using DNA and RNA-based methodologies, and HAB toxins are detected using antibody-based assays. In the summers of 2012, 2013 and 2015, six ESP deployments (totaling ~110 days) provided near real-time monitoring of HABs in the Salish Sea to support proactive fisheries management efforts. In 2016, an ESP will be deployed on the Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory off the Washington coast to monitor and provide early warning of toxic Pseudo-nitzschia blooms for coastal managers. Data generated by the ESP will be rapidly distributed to end-users via online data visualization tools hosted by the Pacific Northwest regional ocean observing system of the Integrated Ocean Observing System.

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A massive harmful algal bloom on the U.S. West Coast and the future of monitoring for early warning

2016SSEC

In 2015, a massive bloom of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia, stretching from central California to northern British Columbia, resulted in significant impacts to coastal resources and marine life. This bloom was first detected in early May 2015, when Washington closed its scheduled razor clam digs on coastal beaches. It is the largest bloom in at least the past 15 years, and concentrations of domoic acid in seawater, some forage fish, and crab samples were the highest ever reported for this region. By mid-May, domoic acid concentrations in Monterey Bay, California, were 10 to 30 times the level that would be considered high for a normal Pseudo-nitzschia bloom. Impacts to coastal communities and marine life include razor clam and Dungeness crab closures in multiple states, impacting commercial, recreational and subsistence harvesters, anchovy and sardine fishery health advisories in some areas of California, and sea lion strandings in California, Oregon, and Washington. Causes of the bloom’s severity and coastwide distribution include Pseudo-nitzschia’s resilience in the unusually warm, nutrient depleted Pacific Ocean water, combined with perfectly timed storms, followed by the transition to spring upwelling conditions. This bloom highlights the need for an early warning system that can provide forecasts of the increased risk for toxic events. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) offers near real-time (~3 h), quantitative, automated, in-situ detection capabilities by filtering water samples and analyzing them onboard. Specific HAB target organisms, including Pseudo-nitzschia, are detected using DNA and RNA-based methodologies, and HAB toxins are detected using antibody-based assays. In the summers of 2012, 2013 and 2015, six ESP deployments (totaling ~110 days) provided near real-time monitoring of HABs in the Salish Sea to support proactive fisheries management efforts. In 2016, an ESP will be deployed on the Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory off the Washington coast to monitor and provide early warning of toxic Pseudo-nitzschia blooms for coastal managers. Data generated by the ESP will be rapidly distributed to end-users via online data visualization tools hosted by the Pacific Northwest regional ocean observing system of the Integrated Ocean Observing System.