What is the CA HAB Bulletin?
The purpose of this experimental product is to give the public and resource managers a quick outlook of recent and future risk to toxic algal blooms in the State of California. Monthly to bi-monthly reports will synthesize model output, near real-time observations, and public health alerts to provide a more complete picture of the regional variability in harmful algal blooms.
What information is included in the Bulletin?
To date, the CA HAB Bulletin is focused on HABs caused by the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia spp. and its neurotoxin, domoic acid. The California Harmful Algae Risk Mapping (C-HARM) system creates daily nowcasts and three-day forecasts of this risk through simulations of the physical circulation using a Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) to predict water temperature, salinity, upwelling, advection. Quasi-operational, 3-km ROMS output is merged with optical "ocean color" information derived from NASA satellite imagery (MODIS Aqua) to then derive the probability of a toxic HAB event at each pixel. C-HARM is thus a spatially explicit prediction of the risk of Pseudo-nitzschia blooms and domoic acid events. Nearshore HABMAP monitoring funded by SCCOOS and CeNCOOS provides a near real-time picture of which HAB species might be blooming in the very nearshore environment. These nearshore data do not always correspond with C-HARM predictions for the open coast. C-HARM output may be more closely correlated with marine mammals that strand along the coast due to "domoic acid toxicosis" (Anderson et al. 2016 Harmful Algae). Maps of DA-related stranding cases reported by The Marine Mammal Center are displayed in the bulletin to allow a side-by-side comparison with DA risk predicted by C-HARM. As they are issued, we will provide maps and a quick summary of California Department of Public Health Marine Biotoxin Quarantines and Health Advisories that serve as warnings for recreational seafood harvests, as well as Health Advisories and Closures from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
What is the future of the Bulletin?
Researcher tools for HABs are experiencing a renaissance, and we expect to soon highlight many more observations from technologies such as the Environmental Sample Processor, Imaging Flow Cytobot, and next-generation genetic/"omics" analyses, as they become available, to flesh out our view of surface and subsurface HAB activity in coastal California. The HAB Bulletin will also highlight information on other potentially harmful phytoplankton, such as Alexandrium spp. (which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning), Dinophysis (diarrhetic shellfish poisoning), and even the benign "red tides" caused by Lingoludinium polyedra.