Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Modeling climate and harmful algae

The frequency, duration, and geographic scope of harmful algal blooms have increased in recent decades on a global scale. Although these blooms are natural phenomena, this increase has been linked to human activities, including changes in climate and weather. In Puget Sound, toxic blooms of marine dinoflagellates in the genus Alexandrium are sensitive to specific climate and weather conditions (e.g., warm temperatures). Models that are based on these strong relationships can provide forecasts of increased risk of toxic Alexandrium blooms on timescales ranging from days to decades. These forecasts can be used to provide early warning of toxic events in Puget Sound now and in a future warmer climate.

Important prior research

Moore, S. K., N. J. Mantua, et al. (2009). "Recent trends in paralytic shellfish toxins in Puget Sound, relationships to climate, and capacity for prediction of toxic events." Harmful Algae 8(3): 463-477.

Moore, S. K., N. J. Mantua, et al. (2010). "The relative influences of El Niño Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation on paralytic shellfish toxin accumulation in Pacific Northwest shellfish." Limnology and Oceanography 6(55): 2262-2274.

Moore, S. K., N. J. Mantua, et al. (2011). "Past trends and future scenarios for environmental conditions favoring the accumulation of paralytic shellfish toxins in Puget Sound shellfish." Harmful Algae 10(5): 521-529.