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NOAA-Funded Workshop Addresses State of Harmful Algal Bloom Sensors

Published on: 03/21/2017
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology

In late January 2017, NCCOS scientists Marc Suddleson and Greg Doucette joined U.S. and international colleagues at an Alliance for Coastal Technologies workshop funded by NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System to evaluate the state of harmful algal bloom (HAB) sensor technologies.

Attendeesfocused on ways to expedite sensor transition to commercialization and the potential for integrating sensors with coastal monitoring, ocean observing, and HAB forecasting systems. A wide-range of technologies were highlighted, including instruments for detecting and documenting changes in harmful algal species, toxins, and key water quality conditions.

Special sessions and breakout groups addressedcommonly used platforms, including in situ sensors, remote sensing, and high performance computer modeling. Other topics included HAB and toxin technology and detection challenges, stakeholder and user needs, shared challenges and barriers across marine and freshwater ecosystems, integrating detection with existing observing systems, and HAB technology performance testing. The group also explored examples of promising new technologies, such as field-tested sensors and commercially available products used to ensure healthy seafood and protect humans and wildlife.

Marc Suddleson provided an overview of NCCOS HAB programs and examples of technology development, demonstration, and commercialization supported by NCCOS. Greg Doucette shared his expertise on developing toxin detection methods, advancing the Environmental Sample Processor and leadership on this topic via the NOAA Ecological Forecasting Roadmap. NCCOS-funded investigators on active or recent HAB sensor projects such as the Imaging FlowCytobot and ' tricorder,' roughly a quarter of all attendees, also contributed to the workshop.

Workshop participants considered pathways to sustain sensor operations, such as envisioning a national network of regional HAB observing systems and more closely aligning sensor applications to meet needs of industries like public water systems and aquaculture operations impacted by HABs. The group also recognized a need for improved data products to meet a variety of research, management, and public needs.

Workshop proceedings and a series of recommendations for advancing and transitioning HAB sensor technologies to operations will be available via the Alliance for Coastal Technologies website. Visit NOAA IOOS for additional information.

For more information, contact Marc.Suddleson@noaa.gov or Greg.Doucette@noaa.gov.

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