Targeted Research

Targeted Research addresses specific objectives outlined in the GEOHAB Science Plan. Targeted Research may be solicited by the SSC as the need arises from Core Research Projects.

List of papers published based on GEOHAB endorsed research (download as End-note zip file)

 

 

 

ENDORSED PROJECTS: 

PROJECT TITLE: ECOHAB – Modeling favorable habitat areas for Alexandrium catenella in Puget Sound and evaluating the effects of climate change

Planned duration of activity, from: 1 September 2010 to: 31 August 2013

CONTACTS:

Stephanie K. Moore, Associate Scientist Address: NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, 2725 Montlake Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112 United States, Tel/Fax:                                           206-860-3327                         E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. home page URL: http://www.tiny.cc/psahab  

Other key persons: John E. Stein, Deputy Director, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center; Donald M. Anderson, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Eric P. Salathé Jr, Assistant Professor, University of Washington; Nathan J. Mantua, Research Associate Professor, University of Washington; Neil S. Banas, Oceanographer, University of Washington

Cheryl L. Greengrove, Associate Professor, University of Washington-Tacoma; Brian D. Bill, Biological Scientific Technician, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center; Vera L. Trainer, Harmful Algal Bloom Program Manager, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Project web site: http://www.tiny.cc/psahab, Data management contact: Neil Banas. The dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella produces a suite of potent neurotoxins that accumulate in shellfish and cause severe illness or death if contaminated shellfish are consumed by humans. Alexandrium catenella form dormant cysts that overwinter on the seafloor and provide the inoculum for toxic blooms the following summer when conditions become favorable again for growth of the motile cell. A 2005 survey of A. catenella cyst distribution in Puget Sound, Washington State, identified “seedbeds” with high cyst abundances that correspond to areas where shellfish frequently attain high levels of toxin. However, even at these sites, interannual variability in the magnitude of toxic events is high. In order to provide advanced warning of A. catenella blooms, managers need to know how much “seed” is available to initiate blooms, where this seed is located, and when/where this seed could germinate and grow. Evaluating how favorable habitat areas for cyst germination and vegetative growth will be altered by climate change would allow for risk assessments of A. catenella blooms through until the late 21st century. The objectives of this project are to (I) determine interannual variations in A.catenella cyst distribution in Puget Sound, (II) quantify rates of cyst germination and vegetative growth for a range of temperature, salinity, and light conditions, (III) determine the presence/absence of an endogenous clock that regulates cyst germination, (IV) model favorable habitat areas for cyst germination and vegetative growth, (V) evaluate climate change impacts on favorable habitat areas, and (VI) establish a time series with sufficient depth to provide seasonal forecasts of toxic blooms. To achieve these goals, we will conduct annual cyst surveys at ~80 stations throughout Puget Sound and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Laboratory experiments will be performed to determine the optimal ranges of environmental parameters that maximize rates A. catenella cyst germination and vegetative growth. This information will be combined with output from an existing numerical ROMS-based model of Puget Sound circulation to model favorable habitat areas for A. catenella at ~200 m resolution. Downscaled regional climate change projections for Washington State will be used to construct new forecast scenarios the ROMS model and evaluate changes to favorable habitat areas for A. catenella through the late 21st century. Finally, once a time series with sufficient depth is established, the ability to provide seasonal bloom forecasts will be determined by relating cyst abundances with the magnitude of toxic events the following summer/fall. The expected outcomes of this project include the production of seamless maps indicating favorable habitat areas for A. catenella in Puget Sound now and in a future warmer climate. These maps will be used by shellfish farmers and managers to guide harvesting and monitoring practices in space and time.

FUNDING

Has funding been obtained? Yes: ×

PROJECT TITLE: The Ecophysiology and Toxicity of Heterosigma akashiwo in Puget Sound: A Living Laboratory Ecosystem Approach.                                                   

Planned duration of activity, from : September 2010 to August 2013                                                                               

CONTACTSName and title: Vera L. Trainer, Supervisory Oceanographer      Address: NOAA, NWFSC, 2725 Montlake Blvd. E., Seattle, WA 98112 USA, Tel/Fax:                                                                      206-860-6788                                       , E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. home page URL: (if applicable) www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/hab

Other key persons (name, title and institution): Dr. Mark Wells, Professor, University of Maine, USA Dr. Charlies Trick, Ivey Chair in Ecosystem Health, University of Western Ontario, Canada Dr. William Cochlan, Senior Research Scientist, Romberg Tiburon Lab for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State Univ, CA, USA. Cooperators and Finfish Managers: Chris O. Miles, National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway; Jack Rensel, Rensel Associates Aquatic Sciences; Kevin Bright, America Gold Seafood (fish farming company).

Institutions: 1Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,                                                         (206)860-6788                                 tel,                                                         (206)860-3335                                 fax (Lead Institution), 2Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA, 3The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, 4University of Maine, Orono, ME, 5 National Veterinary Institute, Chemistry Section, PB 8156 Dep., N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Over one half of the world’s fish production for human consumption currently comes from aquaculture while wild fisheries’ yields are either stable or declining. Recurring threats from the raphidophyte, Heterosigma akashiwo Hada (Sournia) have caused extensive damage ($2-6 million per episode) to wild and net-penned fish of Puget Sound, Washington, and are believed to be increasing in scope and magnitude in this region, and elsewhere in the world over the past two decades. The mechanism of H. akashiwo toxicity is not well understood. The toxic activity of H. akashiwo has been attributed to the production of reactive oxygen species, brevetoxin-like compound(s), excessive mucus, or hemolytic activity; however these mechanisms are not confirmed consistently in all fish-killing events or cultured strains. The difficulty of conducting research with active, toxin-producing field populations of H. akashiwo have resulted in conflicting findings from those obtained in lab culture studies, thereby limiting the ability of managers and fish farmers to respond to these episodic blooms. The overall goal of this project is to identify the primary toxic element and the specific environmental factors that stimulate fish-killing H. akashiwo blooms, and thereby provide managers with the fundamental tools needed to help reduce the frequency and toxic magnitude of these harmful algal events. Studies to date have provided incomplete and conflicting observations on the mode of toxicity and the environmental stimulation of toxification. We propose a three-pronged approach to study the environmental controls of H. akashiwo growth and toxin production; laboratory culture experiments, field observations, and bottle and mesocosm manipulation experiments.

The project objectives are to: 1. identify the element(s) of toxic activity (inorganic, organic, or synergistic) associated with blooms of H. akashiwo and its various cellular morphologies, 2. determine the environmental parameters that stimulate the growth success and expression of cell toxicity in the H. akashiwo populations of Puget Sound. Because previous studies have used H. akashiwo cultures with little or no toxic activity, our approach is to use a “living laboratory” to study H. akashiwo bloom ecology and toxicity using natural assemblages. Using a mobile lab at field sites where H. akashiwo cells are regularly found will enable us to fully characterize the toxic element(s) responsible for fish mortality, and the environmental factors influencing toxicity. Findings from annual field studies in late June and two rapid response deployments during major bloom events will be confirmed using laboratory studies with fresh (< 6 mo. old) isolates. The expected outputs and outcomes are: 1. determination of the key elements of toxicity of H. akashiwo, 2. characterization of the environmental variables that influence either the induction or depression of elements of toxic activity in H. akashiwo, 3. design of a strategy for realistic mitigation of H. akashiwo activities in Puget Sound, Washington.

Data management contact (web site and/or contact person, if applicable): Vera Trainer

BENEFITS  FROM GEOHAB: This study is an international collaboration involving investigators from the U.S., Canada, and Norway.  GEOHAB endorsement will potentially allow expansion of focus to raphidophyte problems in other nations.

­LINKAGES WITH OTHER PROGRAMMES: Is the project part of a National Programme? Yes: _X_No: ____  If yes, give title: ECOHAB

 Is the activity part of, coordinated with, or affiliated with, other international/regional programs? Yes: ___  No. _X_  If yes, give program title:               

­FUNDING: Has funding been obtained?  Yes: US ECOHAB

 

PROJECT TITLE: Can Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii utilize dissolved organic phosphorus?

Planned duration of activity, from :  2011 to 2012                                                                               

CONTACTSName and title: Timothy Davis, PhD Address: Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia., Tel/Fax: 61 737357457, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    home page URL: (if applicable)

Other key persons (name, title and institution): Dr. Michelle Burford, Assistant professor, Griffith University

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: 

In Australia, the impact on water supplies, health risks and treatment costs associated with harmful algal blooms cost ~ $150M p.a. nationally (Australia State of the Environment 2001). It is well established that anthropogenic inputs of phosphorus (P) promote cyanobacterial blooms in many freshwater systems (Oliver & Ganf 2000, Schindler et al. 2008). P comes in many forms, but dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) is the preferentially utilised form for Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii have been available for many decades. In contrast, the other form of dissolved phosphorus potentially available to cyanobacteria, dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP), has been poorly studied due to methodological constraints. There are two dominant classes of high molecular mass DOP forms – mono- and di-phosphate esters and phosphonates (Clark et al. 1998). It is only recently that improved chemical analysis methods, and the advent of molecular methods have provided the necessary tools for understanding their availability and role in biological growth and community structure. Researchers studying DOP and marine cyanobacteria interactions have been at the forefront of developing and utilizing new molecular and chemical tools to gain a deeper understanding of the role of DOP (Dyhrman et al. 2006). However, despite the chronic problems with harmful freshwater cyanobacterial blooms, research has lagged behind that in marine systems. To date, there have been no studies conducted investigating the ability of harmful freshwater cyanobacteria to directly utilize dissolved organic phosphorus. Studies in marine systems have shown that specific genes are expressed response to P status of algal cells, and availability of P sources. I will focus on elucidating the putative nutrient uptake and metabolism pathways in a harmful cyanobacterial species, C. raciborskii, by determining the presence of specific genes: phoX, phoA (genes involved in DOP ester hydrolysis); phnD, phnJ, phnW, phnX, phnA (genes involved in the transport and metabolism of phosphonate DOP); pstS, sphX (for P binding proteins) (Illikchyan et al. 2009). The nifH (dinitrogen reductase gene) has also been shown to be down-regulated during P starvation (Orchard et al. 2009). Therefore the presence of this gene will also be determined. C. raciborskii  was chosen as the model species as it is dominant in many reservoirs in the subtropical and tropical regions of Australia and overseas (McGregor & Fabbro 2000, Burford & O’Donohue 2006, Bouvy et al. 2000). Furthermore, C. raciborskii is increasingly invading temperate areas of the world (Padisak 1997, Briand et al. 2004, Wiedner et al. 2007). Additionally, it is a toxic species of concern in management of drinking and recreational water supplies. Initially,for each of the putative transcripts of interest, I will develop species-specific primer sets using the C. raciborskii genome. I am planning to design traditional primers for use with a SYBR green detection system (Orchard et al. 2009). Primer specificity will be assessed in, as well as against a range of phytoplankton taxa known to co-occur with C. raciborskii. Once the primer sets have been developed, I will focus on the development of quantitative gene expression assays (qRT-PCR) for each primer set. Once the assay is developed, it will be used to validate how the expression of the target genes is regulated by nutritional physiology and changes in exogenous nutrients in laboratory culture experiments using C. raciborskii. Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) will be collected, extracted and purified using methods described in Orchard et al. (2009). RNA will be transcribed to cDNA using iScript Synthesis kit (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA, USA) and the cDNA will be amplified. I am aware that qRT-PCR approaches for assaying gene expression are constantly evolving, and that there are many complementary methods. Therefore we will adapt technical aspects of the differential expression assays as necessary to incorporate new advances in the field, or different approaches. My work on this objective will result in a fully validated set of primers for qRT-PCR assays on a suite of genes related to dissolved organic phosphorus transport and metabolism in C. raciborskii. silico growth, and chemical methods for quantifying concentrations. In Australia, the impact on water supplies, health risks and treatment costs associated with harmful algal blooms cost ~ $150M p.a. nationally (Australia State of the Environment 2001). It is well established that anthropogenic inputs of phosphorus (P) promote cyanobacterial blooms in many freshwater systems (Oliver & Ganf 2000, Schindler et al. 2008). P comes in many forms, but dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) is the preferentially utilised form for Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii     growth, and chemical methods for quantifying concentrations have been available for many decades. In contrast, the other form of dissolved phosphorus potentially available to cyanobacteria, dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP), has been poorly studied due to methodological constraints. There are two dominant classes of high molecular mass DOP forms – mono- and di-phosphate esters and phosphonates (Clark et al. 1998). It is only recently that improved chemical analysis methods, and the advent of molecular methods have provided the necessary tools for understanding their availability and role in biological growth and community structure. Researchers studying DOP and marine cyanobacteria interactions have been at the forefront of developing and utilizing new molecular and chemical tools to gain a deeper understanding of the role of DOP (Dyhrman et al. 2006). However, despite the chronic problems with harmful freshwater cyanobacterial blooms, research has lagged behind that in marine systems. To date, there have been no studies conducted investigating the ability of harmful freshwater cyanobacteria to directly utilize dissolved organic phosphorus. Studies in marine systems have shown that specific genes are expressed response to P status of algal cells, and availability of P sources. I will focus on elucidating the putative nutrient uptake and metabolism pathways in a harmful cyanobacterial species, C. raciborskii,     by determining the presence of specific genes: phoX, phoA     (genes involved in DOP ester hydrolysis); phnD,     phnJ, phnW, phnX, phnA (genes involved in the transport and metabolism of phosphonate DOP); pstS, sphX     (for P binding proteins) (Illikchyan et al. 2009). The nifH     (dinitrogen reductase gene) has also been shown to be down-regulated during P starvation (Orchard et al. 2009). Therefore the presence of this gene will also be determined. C. raciborskii     was chosen as the model species as it is dominant in many reservoirs in the subtropical and tropical regions of Australia and overseas (McGregor & Fabbro 2000, Burford & O’Donohue 2006, Bouvy et al. 2000). Furthermore, C. raciborskii     is increasingly invading temperate areas of the world (Padisak 1997, Briand et al. 2004, Wiedner et al. 2007). Additionally, it is a toxic species of concern in management of drinking and recreational water supplies. Initially,for each of the putative transcripts of interest, I will develop species-specific primer sets using the C. raciborskii     genome. I am planning to design traditional primers for use with a SYBR green detection system (Orchard et al. 2009). Primer specificity will be assessed in silico  , as well as against a range of phytoplankton taxa known to co-occur with C. raciborskii. Once the primer sets have been developed, I will focus on the development of quantitative gene expression assays (qRT-PCR) for each primer set. Once the assay is developed, it will be used to validate how the expression of the target genes is regulated by nutritional physiology and changes in exogenous nutrients in laboratory culture experiments using C. raciborskii. Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) will be collected, extracted and purified using methods described in Orchard et al. (2009). RNA will be transcribed to cDNA using iScript Synthesis kit (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA, USA) and the cDNA will be amplified. I am aware that qRT-PCR approaches for assaying gene expression are constantly evolving, and that there are many complementary methods. Therefore we will adapt technical aspects of the differential expression assays as necessary to incorporate new advances in the field, or different approaches. My work on this objective will result in a fully validated set of primers for qRT-PCR assays on a suite of genes related to dissolved organic phosphorus transport and metabolism in C. raciborskii.

­LINKAGES WITH OTHER PROGRAMMES: Is the project part of a National Programme? Yes: __No: __x__  If yes, give title:

 Is the activity part of, coordinated with, or affiliated with, other international/regional programs? Yes: ___  No. _x_  If yes, give program title:              

­FUNDING: Has funding been obtained?  No. Prospective Sources: Griffith University New Research Grant; Austalian Research Council Discovery Grant; Austalian Research Council Linkage Grant.

 

 

PROJECT TITLE: A comparison of HAB dynamics in two upwelling regions using novel technology.                                                   

Planned duration of activity, from :  1 December 2010 to 31 December 2011.                                                                               

CONTACTSName and title:  Dr. Andrew Lucas,  Address: Marine & Coastal Management, Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa, E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other key persons (name, title and institution): Dr. Grant Pitcher, Marine and Coastal Management, South Africa, Dr. Frank Shillington, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Raphael Kudela, University of California, Santa Cruz, Dr. John Largier, University of California, Davis.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a growing global problem, causing hundreds of millions of dollars of economic, environmental, and health losses each year. I propose to utilize autonomous, wavepowered profiling instruments (Wirewalkers, WW) to study HAB dynamics from a Lagrangian (freelydrifting) and Eulerian (moored) perspective. Studies will be performed in the Benguela Current System (BCS) and California Current System (CCS) in collaboration with researchers from Marine and Coastal Management (a Department of Government of South Africa), the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, South Africa, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of California, Davis. The autonomous wave-driven WW profilers will provide the first Lagrangian dataset of sufficient resolution to explicitly test hypotheses concerning advective versus in situ change in HAB populations. Results will augment ongoing comparative studies of HAB dynamics in the southern Benguela and northern Monterey Bay upwelling systems. Specific goals are to conduct a comparative study of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and phytoplankton bloom dynamics in coastal waters of the Benguela Current System (BCS) and California Current System (CCS) over two years. The aims of the project are:

1) Track the development of phytoplankton blooms in upwelling regions using wavepowered, profiling drifters and moorings within existing and planned field observations.

2) Conduct Lagrangian and Eulerian sampling to assess phytoplankton concentration changes in two specific cases: (i) stratified, poleward flowing alongshore current associated with periods of relaxation from upwelling winds, and (ii) unstratified, actively upwelling and recently upwelled waters.

3) Use the comparative approach to study the relationship between physical forcing during periods of upwelling and relaxation and phytoplankton community dynamics in the CCS and BCS.

4) Assess the efficacy of Eulerian and Lagrangian monitoring in advancing observation based prediction of harmful algal blooms (HABs).

5) Develop a low-cost technology approach to monitoring coastal HABs with the aim of developing predictive skill in HAB formation and transport using sparse data arrays. 

6) Foster international collaboration and develop low-cost, effective monitoring technology for coastal locations with sparse monitoring infrastructure.

BENEFITS  FROM GEOHAB: This project is closely aligned with the CRP on HABs in Upwelling, and benefits from the activities from that group. GEOHAB can also provide support for Task 5 and 6, which emphasizes technology transfer and international cooperation amongst research groups.

­­LINKAGES WITH OTHER PROGRAMMES: Is the project part of a National Programme? Yes: ____No: __X__  If yes, give title:

 Is the activity part of, coordinated with, or affiliated with, other international/regional programs? Yes: _X__  No. ____  If yes, give program title: National Science Foundation (USA) International Programs Office     

­FUNDING: Has funding been obtained?  Yes. US National Science Foundation.


PROJECT TITLE: Forecasts and Projections of Environmental and Anthropogenic Impacts on Harmful Algal Blooms in Coastal Ecosystems. Abstract: Our proposed project seeks to further the development and implementation of ecological forecast models with application to aquatic vectors of human and wildlife illness. A tremendous advantage in modelling and predicting HAB events in California is that the successional patterns can be “reset” as a function of short-term environmental conditions (e.g. upwelling/downwelling), providing short-term (days to weeks) predictability in addition to the underlying seasonal and interannual variability that can be used to identify HAB-favourable conditions. Our primary objectives are to implement existing HAB models from Santa Barbara and Monterey Bay previously developed as research exercises, to test and expand these existing models in other regions, to begin developing a similar modeling effort for paralytic shellfish poisoning, and to provide consistent field monitoring and validation data to adequately assess the model results. A metric of our success will be the development and transfer to our partners (HABMAP, CeNCOOS, SCCOOS, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science) of a web-based tool for forecasting probability of HAB events, tracking known blooms, and accessing the underlying data (environmental conditions, HAB monitoring data, satellite and model results) that are readily accessible by researchers, resource managers, and interested members of the public.  This project will develop predictive (forecast) models for Pseudo-nitzschia in the California Current System. We expect that follow-on efforts will compare these results and models to other EBCs, in particular the Benguela Upwelling System. GEOHAB Framework activities such as the recent modeling workshop have been instrumental in the development of this project, and we anticipate continuing to work within the GEOHAB framework as it moves forward. Planned duration of activity from July 2010 to June 2015. Partners: Professor Raphael Kudela , Ocean Sciences Department, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. Tel/Fax: +1-831-459-3290/+1-831-459-4882, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Clarissa Anderson (Researcher, UC Santa Cruz), Dave Caron (Professor, University of Southern California), Yi Chao (Professor, UCLA & JPL), Meredith Howard (Researcher, SCCWRP), Burt Jones (Research Professor, University of Southern California), Heather Kerkering (Coordinator, CeNCOOS), Gregg Langlois (Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Public Health).­­

Project title: Understanding how pathogenic microorganisms overcome invasive, toxic red tides
Acronym: PARALEX
Start: July 2010
End: July 2013
Funding Programmes: French research agency's (ANR) 2009 programme, 'The Sixth Extinction: Quantifying biodiversity loss'.
Project
Budget:
Abstract: he global phenomenon of ‘red tides’ has existed for several years and is due to a spectacular proliferation of microalgae that results from the impact of recent climatic changes on marine phytoplankton. These ‘red tides’ disrupt the marine environment by affecting habitat quality and reducing biomass. They also have an impact on human activities, such as coastal tourism, fishing and aquaculture. Most of the species responsible for such proliferations are dinoflagellates, microorganisms that are primary producers within marine phytoplankton. Some produce formidable toxins and neurotoxins that can trigger paralysis, diarrhoea or haemolysis. These phytotoxins build up in the food chain and can lead to serious poisoning in anyone consuming affected shellfish, crustaceans or fish. Numerous studies have led to a better understanding of and a greater ability to predict the environmental factors that encourage these algal blooms. In contrast, practically nothing is known of the factors that ensure that affected ecosystems will, given time, recover. Initial long-term monitoring suggests that some species capable of producing intense toxic blooms for several years are finally integrated into the phytoplankton at weaker cell concentrations, causing no further toxicity problems. Recent work raises the possibility that this regulation may be due to the presence of parasites, viruses, bacteria or microorganisms capable of infecting certain toxic microalgae and of regulating their populations. The main aim of the PARALEX project is to identify the natural parasites present in ecosystems contaminated by invasive and toxic microalgae in order to gain a better understanding of the role of these microorganisms in the recovery and stability of coastal marine ecosystems.
Partners:
Dr. Laure Guillou, Station Biologique de Roscoff
Dr. Patrick Gentien, Ifremer
Dr. Hervé Moreau, CNRS-Banyuls
Contact:
Dr. Laure Guillou, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Place G. Tessier, 29682 Roscoff France, Tel/Fax: +33 2 98 29 23 79/+33 2 98 29 23 23, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
home page URL: www.sb-roscoff.fr/phyto

  

Project title: The Biogeographical and Biodiversity Assessment of Toxic Benthic Dinoflagellate Stocks in the Pacific Ocean and Implications of Bioinvasion on Marine Food webs
Acronym:
Start: 2010
End: 2014
Homepage:
Funding Programmes: (Prospective) source(s): Invited participants and associates to assist where sources of funds may be found, on a national or regional basis with help from IOC/UNESCO & SCOR.
Project
Budget:
Abstract:
The negative impacts to human populations of benthic dinoflagellate toxins in tropical coastal fisheries products are well known, these impacts and increasing frequency are most felt in indigenous coastal populations that rely on fish for subsistence and export. At the most recent CFP workshop in Noumea 2008, led by SPC, most of the delegates of the island countries represented declared their CFP problem to be serious and needed help with monitoring, taxonomy and ecotoxicology etc, and that there was no funding to deal with the problem. Resolution and/or prevention of such impacts have been hampered by the complexity of toxin(s) chemistry, inadequate detection capabilities, and ambiguity related to the taxonomy and toxin production among dinoflagellate species/genera.
   The prospective project (see research framework in appendix) would describe the biogeography of Gambierdiscus, Ostreopsis and Prorocentrum species from at first the invited collaborators shared record of SEM Gambierdiscus work, that already has taken place from different localities.
   Secondly, in a large number of localities throughout the Pacific, using up to date taxonomy tools/information and with a coordinated approach for "collections of opportunity" among various collaborating island nations, where sampling efforts and monitoring can be established, with the provision of postgraduate researchers or government staff(using a research through training approach) to undertake such monitoring and collections, a record of the organisms biogeography can be achieved. As has been done within Hawaii, we would establish a coordinated network of stakeholders to target geographically broad localities, arrange for appropriate sampling/preservation efforts, and then perform the taxonomic assessments to describe the relative abundances and distribution of these species.
   To enable assessment of the role of ballast water in the bioinvasiveness of these genera, special efforts will be made to identify areas representing a wide range of ship access, and shipping intensity; for example, within the Hawaiian Archipelago we anticipate the coordination of sampling with both the Main Hawaiian Islands, and the uninhabited Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Results of this work is also expected to dovetail and leverage future planned work on toxic benthic dinoflagellates within GEOHAB, to be coordinated by this collaboration; and to involve scientists from beyond the Pacific: the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the archipelagos of Indonesia and the Philippines.
   A third target of the work will be to collect dinoflagellate materials from some selected sites to isolate/culture and/or extract toxins and measure the MW of toxin material produced.  Given that this effort will require substantial control over the collections, it is anticipated that the participant nations employ postgraduate research students for this collection and monitoring efforts, and where possible be coordinated with coral reef monitoring projects (such as Reef Check or NOAA’s coral reef monitoring program). We envisage correlating microalgal biogeography and ecotoxicology with coral cover, where coral monitoring coincides with microalgal collection.
   The fourth target of this research will focus on the examination of food web effects of the extracted toxin material produced. Implementation of this facet will require considerable amounts of extracted toxic material.  We anticipate using the growth rate of juvenile fish and/or shrimp as dependent ecosystem variables; we believe we may also have means to assess responses by corals to introduction of dinoflagellate toxins.
Partners:
Prof. Gustaaf Hallegraeff Plant Science, Uni. of Tasmania, Aust.
Dr Wayne Litaker, NOS/CCFHR, NOAA, NC, USA
Prof. Bill Aalsberberg Director, Institute of Applied Science, USP
Dr Steve Morton NOS/CCEHBR, NOAA, SC, USA
Dr Marie-Yasmine Bottein NOS/NCCOS, NOAA, SC, USA
Prof. Matti Lang Director, Entox, Uni. of Queensland, Aust.
Dr Ian Stewart Griffith University, Aust.
Dr Wasa Wickramasinghe Entox, University of Queensland, Aust.
Dr Glen Shaw School of Public Health, Griffith Uni. Aust.
Assoc. Prof. Norm Duke Centre of Marine Studies, UQ, Aust.
Dr Angela Capper Marine & Tropical Biology, JCU, Aust.
Assoc. Prof. Kirsten Heimann Marine & Tropical Biology, JCU, Aust.
Dr Patrick Holland Cawthron Institute, New Zealand
Prof. Takeshi Yasumoto Okinawa Science & Technology, Japan.
Dr Mike Batty Director, Marine Resources Division, SPC
Dr Lindsay Chapman Coastal Fisheries Manager, MRD, SPC
Dr Being Yeeting Reef Fisheries, MRD, Secretariat Pacific Community
Assoc. Professor Mike Holmes Dep. Director, Tropical Marine Science Institute, NUS
Poasi Ngaluafe Department of Fisheries, Tonga
Dr Posa Skelton PACINET coordinator
Assoc. Prof. Ron Johnstone Centre of Marine Studies, University of Queensland
Dr Florence Boisson IAEA Marine Environment Laboratories, Monaco
Dr Pat Holland Cawthron Institute, New Zealand
Contact: Professor Richard Lewis, Institute of Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Project title:
Life history transformations among HAB species, and the environmental and physiological factors that regulate them
Acronym: SEED
Start: 3/24/2005
End: 3/23/2008
Homepage:
Funding Programmes: SUSTDEV-2004-3.III.4.4 Harmful algal blooms in European marine and brackish waters Specific Targeted Research Project
Budget: 1500000 Euro
Abstract:
SEED aims to understand how and to what extent anthropogenic forces influence the non-vegetative stages of the life cycles of harmful algal species thereby contributing to the increase in harmful algal blooms in European marine, brackish and fresh waters. The overall objectives are to improve and extend our understanding of the transition between the different life history stages to identify the environmental and physiological factors that regulate those transitions, and hence the relative importance of anthropogenic vs. natural causes, and to integrate the recent acquire knowledge in the development of new simulation model or refining existing ones. This will allow improved prediction, mitigation and management strategies. The approach of SEED is comparative, from species to ecosystem level. It is imperative to recognize common patterns of response among species to facilitate the development of conceptual and numerical models of HAB dynamics. SEED will focus on an array of target HAB species, ranging from marine to brackish to fresh water organisms, and covering a broad range of phylogenetic types. SEED research is multifaceted, as the problems in life history transitions are complex and processes occur over a wide range of scales. SEED will combine field studies and laboratory experiments. Field work is centered on areas where ongoing monitoring programs and much baseline information about distribution of species and physical-chemical data already exists. The innovation is to implement the most appropriate research strategies to be applied to the non-vegetative phases which determine the success of HABs and their expansion due to anthropogenic forcing. Moreover, a mitigation strategy, analogous to sterile insect releases that are an effective element of agricultural pest control on land will be investigated for the dormancy stages of HAS.
Partners:
Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientificas
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche
Finnish Institute Of Marine Research - Merentutkimuslaitos
Helsingin Yliopisto
Institut Ciencies Del Mar, Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientificas
Instituto Español De Oceanografía
Lunds Universitet
National University Of Ireland - Galway
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Tartu Uelikool
Contact:
D r. Esther Garcés
Institut Ciencias del Mar
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia
Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta, 37-49
E08003 Barcelona, Catalunya
Spain
Phone:  34 93 230 95 00
Fax:      34 93 230 95 55
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Project title:
ALEXARRAY – Genetic Regulation of Bloom Formation in the Toxic Marine Dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense.

Funding; Submitted to the European Commission under FP7 but not funded.
Contact:
Prof. Allan Cembella
AWI Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Am Handelshafen 12. D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
Phone:                             49 471 4831 1494               
Fax: 49 471 4831 1425
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Project title:
Nutrients and ciguatera dinoflagellates: 3 regional studies

Start: 2003End: 2006
Funding Programmes: This program has been undertaken by a part-time, largely self funded PhD postgraduate (Mark Skinner). He obtained one grant of £3,000 was provided by the now defunct Commonwealth Science Council for the Cook Islands research with a permit from the Cook Islands Prime Ministers Office and the Dr Edward Koch Foundation provided AUS$30,000 for the Far North Queensland research with a permit from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The National Science Academy of Indonesia provided a permit for the Indonesian research.
Abstract:.
Abstract for 1st study: “A HAB (Prorocentrum gillespii), Ciguatera Fish Poisoning and nutrients from Rarotonga, Cook Islands”. Ecological ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) studies in the past have largely ignored the potential for benthic microalgae from the sediment to contribute to toxins in the associated environment, largely concentrating on the macroalgae present and associated micro flora and ignoring this other niche. Ciguatera field studies have also concentrated on the dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus, well known to be the producer of ciguatoxin precursors but ignoring the potential of toxins from other dinoflagellate genera “Prorocentrum and Ostreopsis” (except for studies on Caribbean Ostreopsis) to be causative of CFP. This study concentrates on a harmful algal bloom (HAB) of Prorocentrum, on the sediment of a tropical high island fringing reef lagoon in the southern central Pacific Ocean which was described as a new species by SEM analysis. The field site, Muri lagoon was chosen, as the island of Rarotonga, has a very high occurrence of CFP. Sampling took place from November 2002 to September 2003 for microalgal abundance (Prorocentrum gillespii highest monthly count was 13,700 cells/g sand) and water samples were taken for nutrient analysis from the lagoon and catchment streams. Fish were collected from the actual lagoon site for toxin analysis both at the start and at the end of sampling. We surmise that the nutrients (over the critical limits for healthy coral reefs) are most likely responsible for the bloom of microalgae present and those toxins from this bloom could now be responsible for ongoing cases of CFP.  Abstract for 2nd study “The first report of the abundance of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning benthic dinoflagellates and nutrients from Bali, Indonesia”. The destruction of coral reefs both by physical and man made causes may be responsible for Ciguatera fish poisoning outbreaks, due to the denuded reef surfaces becoming colonised by macro algae that are the preferred hosts of the dinoflagellate that causes the disease. Ciguatera field studies have concentrated on the dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus, well known to be the producer of ciguatoxin precursors but ignoring the potential of toxins from other dinoflagellate genera Prorocentrum and Ostreopsis, to be causative of CFP. All benthic Prorocentrum species, known to produce Okadaic Acid(OA) and its derivative dinophysistoxins (DTX), and water-soluble fast-acting toxins, examined for toxicity have been shown to be toxin producers. Toxic compounds produced by Ostreopsis species include Ostreotoxins (OTX) and Ostreocins, palytoxin analogues, and the potential harmful effects of Ostreopsis species on aquatic organisms (and ecological impacts) are unknown. CFP has largely occurred on the oceanic islands of the world’s tropical seas, it has only recently occurred in some places in the major archipelagoes of Indonesia and the Philippines. Study sites were identified that may produce ciguateric fish, associated with a degraded coral reef ecosystem: Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua (Southern Bali) reefs. These sites, that cover different niches of the coral reef ecosystem, due to the water movement at the site, were sampled on a monthly basis for over a year. As well as finding the genera Gambierdiscus (maximum density 30 cells/g wet wt. macroalgae), Ostreopsis (max. 2,860 cells/g wet wt.) and Prorocentrum (max. 75 cells/g wet.wt) at all sites, water column nutrient levels were found on the average to be higher than that recommended for a healthy coral reef. A factor that may play a part in the potential for toxicity at a site is the abundance of sea grass which is often present at coral reef ecosystems, around the major archipelagoes but often not so prevalent at ecosystems of the oceanic islands prone to CFP. Abstract of 3rd study, “The abundance of benthic toxic dinoflagellates causative of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning and nutrients from Green and Magnetic Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Far North Queensland, Australia”. Ciguatera field studies have concentrated on the dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus, well known to be the producer of ciguatoxin precursors but ignoring the potential of toxins from the genera Prorocentrum and Ostreopsis to be causative of Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP). There has been only one previous study of these three genera on the Great Barrier Reef. Whilst CFP is no longer a major concern to GBR authorities, largely due to the extension of green zones which no longer permits fishing in many areas, and the general public awareness of preventative measures against the disease (such as taking appropriate species, smaller size fish and small portions to be eaten), some cases still occur. Authorities, such as GBRMPA and coral reef scientists in general, should be concerned with what impact these toxic benthic dinoflagellate genera have on the coral reef ecosystem and their biodiversity as a whole and what role they may play in the succession of coral to macroalgae dominated reefs. This study reports on two of the most well known and most often visited islands of the GBR, Green and Magnetic islands and the abundance of toxic dinoflagellates (maximum densities of Gambierdiscus, Ostreopsis and Prorocentrum were 41, 116, 112 at Green and 50, 200, 66 at Magnetic Islands, cells/g wet wt. macroalgae, respectively) present (including the presence of a previously unreported genera, Sinophysis a density of 13 at Green & 29 at Magnetic Islands; cells/g wet. wt. macroalgae) amongst macroalgae and the correlation with the concentration of nutrients present in the water column. Further studies in this program, to be written up, includes Gili Tragawan, a site chosen as a comparison to the sites at Bali which was sampled on a quarterly basis for more than a year and many additional sites were sampled on the GBR including inshore islands, Snapper, Low, Michelmas, Fitzroy and Normanby as well as the reefs Upolu, Norman, King and Thretford, at least three times over a year or more. Some correlations with nutrients are to be interpreted with sites from inshore to offshore, across the reef, and between sites inshore at varying distances from variable sized river plumes. 

Contact:
Dr Richard Lewis                                     
IMB, UQ, St. Lucia, Queensland , 4072, Australia .
Tel/Fax: (617) 3365 1964 (Tel); (617) 3365 1990 (Fax)                     
E-mail: r. lewis @ imb.uq.edu.au