Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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HAB Research

Microscopic image of Psuedo-nitzschia.HABs and marine biotoxins impact the whole marine food web and the human endeavors associated with living marine resources. While HAB events can occur in relatively small areas, many of them have origins in far off-shore oceanic environments. Because of the scale of these events, we have chosen to focus our current efforts on two marine biotoxins that have significant effects in the west coast of North America: Domoic Acid and PSP. Since HABs and marine toxin outbreaks are largely unpredictable with our current state of knowledge, our research places a strong emphasis on developing fundamental understandings of the mechanisms of toxin production and distribution into our coastal living marine resources.

NWFSC HAB Research

Our approach to research on HABs and biotoxins recognizes four broad categories of research. First, we need a fundamental understanding of what and how HAB blooms are initiated and how the toxins are produced and move through the food web. Second, we need simple, sensitive, and reliable detection and analytical methods for the toxins and the specific HAB species that produce the toxins. Third, in order to understand how marine biotoxins are taken up and retained for long periods in many fish and shellfish, we need to conduct toxicology studies to understand how these toxins are bound, eliminated, and whether they have behavorial or other toxic effects. Fourth, we need to gather data on past occurrences of HAB events to formulate information about potential trends that might be correlated with other environmental conditions.

To read more about our HAB reseach, please use the navigation bar to the right or click on the links below.

NWFSC HAB Research

Research PartnershipsORHAB website image.

Clearly, the vastness and scope of these research areas require resources beyond those available to any single institution. We recognized the need to build strong partnerships with other interested groups and constituents in the region to amplify our collective efforts. To this end we have formed strong, strategic partnerships with state risk and resource managers, academic institutions, industry, tribes, and public concern groups. Within the last five years we have developed two significant partnerships: The Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom (ORHAB) Partnership and the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms-Pacific Northwest (ECOHAB-PNW).

To read more about our research partnerships, please use the navigation bar to the right or click on the links below.

Research Partnerships