Goal and Programme Elements

The overall scientific goal of GEOHAB is:

 Improve prediction of HABs by determining the ecological and oceanographic mechanisms underlying their population dynamics, integrating biological, chemical, and physical studies supported by enhanced  observation and modelling techniques.

The GEOHAB Science Plan defines five Programme Elements that serve as a guide to establish research priorities.  Although HABs also pose critical problems in freshwater ecosystems, the focus of GEOHAB will be on the manifestation of these blooms in marine and brackish waters to create a project of manageable scope.

The elements of GEOHAB and their overarching questions are:

1. Biodiversity and Biogeography.  What are the factors that determine the changing distribution of HAB species, their genetic variability, and the biodiversity of associated communities?

 2. Nutrients and Eutrophication. To what extent does increased eutrophication influence the occurrence of HABs and their harmful effects?

3. Adaptive strategies. What are the unique adaptations of HAB species and how do they help to explain their proliferation or harmful effects?

4. Comparative Ecosystems. To what extent do HAB species, their population dynamics, and community interactions respond similarly under comparable ecosystem types?

5. Observation, Modelling, and Prediction.  How can we improve the detection, and prediction of HABs by developing capabilities in observation and modelling?

To understand and ultimately predict HABs, the broad range of objectives and tasks outlined under the individual Programme Elements must be addressed. This requires co-ordination and integration among Programme Elements.