Posted: 3 December 2014

Workshop Proceedings
HABIOS Workshop: Now, Next, and the Future
March 26-28, 2012
Pensacola, FL

Goal: Develop a user-needs-based plan for a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) for the Gulf of Mexico that has three phases (and related product suites to service the user needs):

  • HABIOS-NOW, based on extant knowledge, tools, methodologies, and models:
  • HABIOS-NEXT, based on current, on-going, soon-to-be-completed research and technology development; and
  • HABIOS-FUTURE, based on knowledge and technology still to be defined and performed.

Proposed Time Scales: NOW (0-1 years); NEXT (1-3 years); FUTURE (3+ years)

Day 1


Workshop participants were welcomed and thanked by Steve Wolfe, GOMA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Wolfe stated that the workshop is a GCOOS and GOMA funded workshop. Participants (Appendix 1) were asked to introduce themselves and state their affiliation. After introductions of the group, Mr. Wolfe introduced Mr. Mel Briscoe, OceanGeeks, as the workshop facilitator. Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Briscoe identified the Workshop Steering Committee members as Steve Wolfe, Barb Kirkpatrick, Ann Jochens, Carol Dorsey, and Steve Lohrenz. The major effort for planning the workshop was led by Mr. Wolfe and Dr. Jochens. The agenda is in Appendix 2.

Workshop Structure and ExpectationsMel Briscoe

Now, Next, and the Future was the last in a series of HAB workshops, and the goal was to obtain closure and develop and finalize the plan. The job is not to expand observations or needs but to take existing knowledge and reports and pull it all together right now to be helpful, identifying what we can do. Mr. Briscoe asked the group who participated in the previous workshops. Below is an approximate breakdown. 2007-12; 2008-2; 2009–10; 2010–2.

Mel Briscoe’s presentation

Summary of pre-workshop materials and comments receivedBarbara Kirkpatrick

The current HABIOS plan (Appendix 4) was sent out prior to the workshop and participants were asked to review it and comment on it using a survey monkey tool. Kirkpatrick presented the results.

Next, Steve Wolfe presented Summary Descriptions of Urgent and Longer-term Stakeholder Needs.

Our Mexican colleagues, Dr. Piña, Dr. Alvarez, Dr. Soto, and Dr. Granja, presented a series of talks on their programs that overlap with HABs.

Day 2

Break Out Session NOW, NEXT, and FUTURE

Mr. Briscoe started with a recap of Day one and shared with the group the ‘nuggets’ he identified from day 1 (listed below).

Monday ‘Nuggets’
Need an R and D plan – How to get from A to B to C
Need to be clear on who is a ‘user’ and who is a ‘provider’
Public Health and Living Marine Resources – they are why we ‘care’ about HABs
K. brevis and ‘others’ – who are the others
NOW = what can be done on 1 year, NEXT = what can be done in 3 years
Integration for NOW – all species
What are the critical science needs for NEXT and FUTURE
Plan(s) need to be continual refreshed
Need to consider Impact vs. Difficulty
Need performance metrics

Dr. Steve Lohrenz then presented a summary of the immediate and near-term capabilities.

The charge to the break out groups and a description of the process used is in Appendix 3.

The break-out session results were presented to the entire group and then were ‘lumped’ into like categories for an overall workshop result. The results are listed below and are listed in priority:

HABIOS NOW Session 1 Topic 1 – User needs?
Improved detection for protection of public health in coastal zone
Communication across states/borders
Event response- coordinated and consistent
Seafood industry – identify toxins- where and when they occur
Toxicity/toxins levels and bloom intensity
Early warning systems
Citizen science – engage community and better sampling coverage
More precise location of HAB


HABIOS NOW Session 1 Topic 2 – Observations required?
Forecasting, tracking, modeling – the need for satellites (remote sensing) models, and dissemination tools
Expand/further develop automated sampling approaches- OPD [Optical Phytoplankton Detector], flow cytobot, ESP [Environmental Sample Processor], gliders
Web portal for everything HAB in GoMex (Harmful Algal Boom Observing System (HABSOS))
Reports for both living marine resources (manatees, dolphins, sea turtles) and public health
Increased discrete samples- citizen science


HABIOS NOW Session 1 – Topic 3 – Residual for NEXT?
Data information clearing house
Species/taxa detection of other species besides K. brevis
Satellite and modeling infrastructure
Buy in for an interagency (Federal, State, Local) HABIOS
Continue/improve current efforts of species detection
Coupling of circulation and biologic models
Near-Shore currents
Increasing automated/autonomous sampling
Stop HABs

After group consensus was achieved on the above, a discussion regarding Impact vs. Difficulty of Execution was facilitated by Mr. Briscoe. An example from session 1, topic 2 of the comparison of impact vs. difficulty is shown below:


The challenge is to lessen the difficulty and or make a larger impact. Also noted was that sometimes if you increase the impact it also might increase the difficulty. These issues always need to be considered when creating an implementation plan.

HABIOS NEXT Session 2 Topic 1 – User Needs?
Higher spatial and temporal resolution- beach level information on impacts/toxin alerts
Widespread automated system to increase accuracy
Data Information portal
Warning system on two time scales
Benthic and emerging HABs
Mitigation strategies


HABIOS NEXT Session 2 Topic 2 – Observations Required?
More automated sampling
More equipment for traditional monitoring
Sustained observations
Data sharing for coupled physical/biological models
Rapid detection methods
Toxin detectors
Web portal


HABIOS NEXT Session 2 Topic 3 – Residual for FUTURE
Finish the NEXT things!
Multi species and toxin detection – start in NEXT, get better in FUTURE
To go from NEXT to FUTURE- need Gulfwide system
Robotic beach sampling – toxin ‘sniffer’
Toxic mitigation system/mitigation of toxic effects on humans


HABIOS FUTURE – Session 3 – Topic 1: User’s Needs?
Aerosol maps and benthic maps (from models)
Increased surveillance – identification of areas with sickness/problems
Complete Gulf wide, bi-national systems and agreements
HAB wars – need community modeling not individual species
Predication of bloom ends
Sustainability of observations
Outreach and education – both informal and commercial/industry
Sustainability (HABs have lower priority than other food security issues)
Innovative education- mobile apps, 3D figures


HABIOS FUTURE – Session 3 – Topic 2: Observations Required?
Next generation tracking tool
Automated sampling – OPD/gliders, cytobots
Sustained discrete sampling program
Toxin detectors
Build out of models


HABIOS FUTURE – Session 3 – Topic 3: Performance Metrics?
Number of beach closures
Proximity to shore
HAB location – spatial and temporal scale
Number of shellfish contamination events detected
Reporting of HAB related illness within 1 week of diagnosis
Number of unique users to data portal or central website (Google analytics)
Amount of $$ saved by targeted sampling
How much data uploaded and how much data is used


Mr. Briscoe ended the day with a recap and a list of the ‘nuggets’ he had pulled out from the day.

Tuesday ‘Nuggets’
Focus beyond public health and Karenia brevis
Integration – Expansion – Automation
The need for ‘real-er’ time alerts on more things
Marginal return on investment
Mitigation of HAB toxicity – not just their impacts
Underlying science is essential – but also it is not HABIOS
Prediction of duration and dissipation needed – not just initiation


Day 3 – Resource Priorities

Dr. Ann Jochens presented on the resource priorities. The consensus from the break out groups on resources and priorities is shown below.

HABIOS Resources – Session Topic 1: Resources Needed
Toxicity and toxins
Early warning and forecasts
Widespread automated system
Volunteers – citizen science


HABIOS Resources – Session Topic 2: How to Get the Resources
Creative funding – license plates, boating licenses, etc.
Different constituents in each state – need metrics to convince constituents for sustained system
Adopt a beach?
Yacht clubs sponsor a mooring
Private foundations- what’s the hook?
John Cameron/Jimmy Buffet be a champion


Wrap up:
Goal of workshop was to assemble expertise and extract information on how the plan can be greatly improved. That goal was achieved and Mr. Briscoe and Mr. Wolfe thanked the participants for their time and effort.


Appendix 1: Participants

Name Affiliation
Jeanne Allen EPA Gulf of Mexico Program
Porfirio Alvarez Torrez GOM LME Project
Sibel Bargu Ates Louisiana State University
Mel Briscoe OceanGeeks
Meridith Byrd Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Alina Corcoran FL Fish & Wildlife Research Institute
Scott Cross NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center
Matt Dornback NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center
Adrienne Flowers USM
Pilar Granja COFEPRIS Estado de Yucatan
Chris Griffith MS DEQ
Mary Gutierrez Earth Ethics, Inc.
Chuanmin Hu USF
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University
Barb Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Laboratory
Gary Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Laboratory
Jan Landsburg FWRI, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Jason M. Lenes University of South Florida
Steve Lohrenz UMass-Dartmouth
Vince Lovko Mote Marine Laboratory/GOMA
Matt Mask GOMA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Olga Piña de Tabasco
Andrew Reich Florida Department of Health
Jessie Rosanbalm UWF
Karen Steidinger FIO, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Rick Stumpf NOAA Center for Coastal Monitoring & Assessment
Jyotika Virmani Florida Institute of Oceanography
Byron Webb Alabama Department of Public Health
Bob Weisberg University of South Florida
Steve Wolfe Florida Department of Environmental Protection



Appendix 2: Agenda

Day/Time Activity Who
Monday – March 26
1230-1300 Registration and Networking  
1300-1330 Introductions Wolfe
1330-1400 Workshop Structure and Expectations Briscoe
1400-1500 Summary of pre-workshop materials and comments received Kirkpatrick
1500-1530 BREAK
1530-1700 Summary Descriptions of Urgent and Longer-term Needs Wolfe
1700-1800 Summary description of Mexico’s HAB Monitoring System

  • The Gulf of Mexico LME and the Mexican HABs Strategy
  • Phytoplankton blooms in Mexico: New Approach using Marine Optical Properties
  • HABS in Yucatan State
  • HABs in Tabasco State
Tuesday – March 27
0800-0830 Registration and Networking  
0830-0900 Recap of Day One; Goals for Day Two Briscoe
0900-1000 Summary descriptions of immediate and near-term capabilities Lohrenz
1000-1030 BREAK
1030-1045 Discussion of overlap and NOW/NEXT boundary Full Group
1045-1145 Breakout Groups: Define HABIOS NOW (Each group develops an independent definition) Facilitators: Kirkpatrick, Lohrenz, Virmani
1145-1230 Breakout Group Reports @ 10 mins: Consensus on definition of HABIOS-NOW; document outliers Full Group
1230-1330 LUNCH
1330-1400 Discussion of HABIOS-NOW Consensus (Examine Impact-Difficulty of Elements) Full Group
1400-1445 Breakout Groups: Define HABIOS-NEXT Facilitators: Kirkpatrick, Lohrenz, Virmani
1445-1530 Breakout Group Reports @ 10 mins: Consensus on definition of HABIOS-NEXT Full Group
1530-1600 BREAK
1600-1645 Breakout Groups: Define HABIOS-FUTURE Facilitators: Kirkpatrick, Lohrenz, Virmani
1645-1730 Breakout Group Reports @ 10 mins: Consensus on definition of HABIOS-FUTURE Full Group
1730-1800 Loose Ends, Summaries Briscoe
Wednesday, March 28
0800-0830 Registration and Networking  
0800-0830 Resource discussions Jochens
0830-1000 Breakout Groups: Define Resource Priorities Facilitators: Kirkpatrick, Lohrenz, Virmani
1000-1030 BREAK
1030-1130 Breakout Group Reports @ 10 mins: Consensus on definition of Resource Priorities Full Group
1130-1200 Issues arising, next steps, loose ends to be dealt with post-workshop Briscoe/Wolfe



Appendix 3: Break Out Group Instructions

Charge to HABIOS Workshop Breakout Groups

General Background

  1. Each group has a facilitator and a rapporteur.
  2. Each group is discussing the same questions, to facilitate developing a consensus.
  3. Each breakout session will have 2-3 assigned topics, and will ask for nominally 3-5 items or recommendations within each topic. The goal is not to list everything said, but to arrive at the major items having the most importance/urgency/impact.
  4. Each group has just 10 minutes to summarize their conclusions and recommendations, within the assigned topical areas. Any additional results can be summarized, within the same 10 minutes.
  5. There will be no full-group discussion of each group report, except for questions for clarification.

Full-group discussion will be after all breakout groups have reported.

Charge to the Breakout Group

  • Working as a group, provide your prioritized response to these topics, and orally report your results afterwards.
  • You have 45-90 minutes for each Breakout Session, and ten minutes for your report.
  • Provide ancillary discussion material as a written addendum, but do not report on it.


Topic 1: List 3-5 Immediate User-Needs that MUST be addressed by HABIOS-NOW. Prioritize this list in terms of the most impact on societal needs.

Topic 2: List 3-5 observational systems and end-user products that are required to service the needs in Topic 1.

Annotate this list in terms of:
2A) Are each of these available/affordable now (0-1 yrs)? (Does some other time-horizon work better?)
2B) Are each of these operational or can become operational?

Best Practices for “Operational”:
• Scientifically vetted
• User vetted
• Transferable
• Resources, metrics for success, documented procedures

Topic 3: List 3-5 observing and/or product systems that need to be in place now to get ready for HABIOS-NEXT and HABIOS-FUTURE but which will NOT service the needs in Topic 1. This includes continue current research efforts.



Topic 1: List 3-5 User-Needs that MUST be addressed by HABIOS, cannot be done during HABIOS-NOW, but can be ready for HABIOS-NEXT. Prioritize this list in terms of the most impact on societal needs.

Topic 2: List 3-5 observational systems and end-user products that are required to service the needs in Topic 1.

Annotate this list in terms of:
2A) Will each of these available/affordable in 1-3 years? (Does some other time-horizon work better?)
2B) Are each of these operational or can become operational?

Topic 3: List 3-5 observing and/or product systems that need to be in place within 0-3 years to get ready for HABIOS-FUTURE but which will NOT service the needs in Topic 1. This includes continuing current research efforts, or starting new ones.



Topic 1: List 3-5 User-Needs that MUST be addressed by HABIOS, cannot be done during HABIOS-NOW or HABIOS-NEXT, but potentially can be addressed HABIOS-FUTURE so as to provide the needed capability at some point in the future. Prioritize this list in terms of the most impact on societal needs.

Topic 2: List 3-5 observational systems and end-user products that are required to service the needs in Topic 1.

Prioritize this list in terms of:
2A) When will each of these available/affordable? 3-5 yrs? 5-8? 8+?
2B) Are each of these operational or can become operational? What needs to be done to each to achieve operational status?

Topic 3: Suggest 3-5 quantitative Performance/Success Metrics for HABIOS-NOW, NEXT


FOURTH BREAKOUT SESSION: “Define Resource Priorities” [1 Hour]

Topic 1: List 3-10 critical resource requirements and issues associated with the previously defined HABIOS –NOW, -NEXT, and -FUTURE. Annotate each requirement/issue with the user need it supports.

Topic 2: What are some new, creative, different, innovative wasy to obtain funding for HABIOS?



Appendix 4: HABIOS Draft for review and comment prior to workshop

Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS)

Executive Summary

The Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) for the Gulf of Mexico is being built to help protect public health and to service the needs of coastal and resource managers by providing observations of the toxic algae1 most likely to harm seafood and people in the Gulf of Mexico. The goal of this document is to provide a HABIOS implementation plan that is focused on what resource and public health managers need to better protect the public, living marine resources, and the ecosystem. Those who will be most helped are beachgoers, fishermen, and boaters. HABIOS has three phases (and product suites):

  • HABIOS-NOW, based on extant knowledge, tools, methodologies, and models; the time horizon is within 0-1 years.
  • HABIOS-NEXT, based on current, on-going, soon-to-be-completed research and technology development, with a time horizon of 1-3 years; and
  • HABIOS-FUTURE, based on knowledge and technology still to be defined, developed, and deployed. It will be at least 3 years before these capabilities are available.

We note that much research is needed to address critical issues such as HAB initiation, nutrient impacts from HABs, and improved detection technology; but this is not the focus of the present implementation plan, except as likely elements of HABIOS-FUTURE, some aspects of which must be started now so as to permit the research and testing to take place.

To make a robust system, the components for the design and implementation of HABIOS are:

  1. Integration of the observing systems and models currently in use, on pause2, or being implemented by the Gulf States and the federal government (HABIOS-NOW);
  2. Addition of new observing assets (HABIOS-NEXT), including
    1. mobile observations to give better resolution for detection and tracking;
    2. additional physical observations of currents to allow better forecasts of movement for tracking; and
    3. additional fixed observations for detection.
  3. Enhancement of data products and tools as well as forecast capabilities for use by managers in closings and warnings (HABIOS-NEXT); and
  4. Enhancement of the HABIOS to respond to changing conditions and requirements (HABIOS-FUTURE).

The initial integration can be accomplished in the near-term as part of HABIOS-NOW, and the cost to do so is compared to the benefits. The addition and enhancement of observing assets, products, tools, and forecast capabilities can be achieved over a number of years beginning with HABIOS-NEXT as the system is built-out, but new funding will be needed for these improvements. Enhancements to the systems for detecting, monitoring, and forecasting HABs are needed to determine HAB-related ecosystem changes that are a response to changing conditions, such as warming oceans, ocean acidification, increase/decrease in nutrient loading into estuaries and the ocean, and over-fishing Accomplishment of these enhancements will depend on future advancements in technology and our scientific understanding of the ecosystem. This is a research and development activity that is not covered by this plan. Although the cost escalates as the various enhancements and improvements are added, the utility and beneficial effects grow faster than do the costs, so that the final operational system saves lives and money on an annual basis. Addressing such a Return on Investment (ROI), with specified metrics for success, is one of the goals of this plan. (Called for by the reviewers; but how to do it?)

Section 1 provides background information. Section 2 summarizes existing capabilities (HABIOS-NOW). Section 3 describes the design considerations and illustrates the preliminary design for HABIOS-NEXT. Cost estimates are given in Section 4, while a suggested prioritization for implementation is in Section 5. The final section describes issues for beyond 3 years (HABIOS-FUTURE).

1 Although harm may occur from non-toxic algae, that is not the focus of this plan. The observing and modeling assets, however, may be useful to those concerned with non-toxic algae and their impacts.
2 These are systems identified in Table ?? that need funding to continue, or have recently had funding end or diminished, but which are very useful and provide outputs now.


1.     Introduction

Within the Gulf of Mexico, extending into the bays and estuaries to the tidal reach, there are currently more than 50 known algae species with the potential to produce harmful effects. Blooms of these species are called harmful algal blooms (HABs). The most significant HAB species from the perspective of human or animal health are those microalgae that produce toxins. Some species, however, have a deleterious impact by causing mechanical damage to fish gills or being concentrated by filter-feeding shellfish, which then are rendered toxic to human consumers. Still other microalgae can be indirectly detrimental to the environment through impacts on the ecosystem, such as out-competing and replacing species that are better food sources, shading of sea grasses, or contributing to the development of hypoxia. The observing system will focus on those algae that have a direct toxic impact on the environment, including on the human dimension.

The best known HAB species in the Gulf of Mexico currently is the dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, which is the organism responsible for frequent “Florida red tide” events. This species produces brevetoxins, which causes Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) when contaminated shellfish are consumed and respiratory illness when the toxic aerosols are inhaled, particularly in people with chronic respiratory disease. It also is present sporadically in Texas waters and, to a lesser extent, throughout other Gulf coastal waters and the eastern U.S. seaboard. Monitoring capability for this species is relatively advanced compared to other HAB taxa, and is a focus of the HABIOS-NOW plan in this document.

Other species also produce harmful blooms that provoke event responses and adversely impact the environment. These include the occurrence in coastal waters of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia spp. with its toxin, domoic acid, and Dinophysis spp. with its okadaic acid toxin, as well as toxic cyanobacteria in estuaries, to name a few. Monitoring for these species also is considered in this plan, although advancements in technology and the scientific understanding of the processes that result in their blooms are needed to improve detection, monitoring, and forecasting capabilities. Thus, HABIOS-NOW and even HABIOS-NEXT cannot provide most of the information needed right now for all the known toxic blooms.

Protecting human health and the socioeconomic well-being of coastal communities are the primary drivers for the need for HABIOS; these motivators are expressed through statutory authorities in the Gulf states and in some Federal agencies. The primary threats to human health are through the consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish or, in the case of Karenia brevis blooms, the inhalation of toxic aerosols. Since human health requires healthy Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, the HABIOS will include elements necessary to monitor and protect the health of animals and ecosystems as well as humans. The primary stakeholders that could be helped with a fully functioning HABIOS, therefore, are beachgoers and associated tourism activities, shell fisherman (both commercial and recreational), fin fisherman (both commercial and recreational), and recreational boaters.

In summary, a HABIOS for the Gulf of Mexico needs to tell us:

  • What HAB species and toxins are currently present in the Gulf ecosystems? What is their potential for development to harmful levels?
  • Under what environmental conditions is a bloom most likely to occur and be transported toward managed coastal resources (e.g. beaches, shellfish beds, manatee populations, etc.)? How are they projected to move and evolve, and thus how long will blooms impact managed resources?

Prevention or mitigation of the impacts of HABs requires the development of permanent, operational ocean observing systems that continuously provide the physical, biogeochemical, and meteorological data and information necessary for rapid detection, tracking/monitoring, and timely forecasts of changes in ecosystem states that can promote bloom development. Key elements of such observing systems are observations and modeling that must be efficiently linked via data management and communication networks.


2.     Existing Capabilities (HABIOS-NOW)

The design for this initial phase of the HABIOS is dependent on the extant knowledge, tools, methodologies, and models. Few, if any, new observing assets will be added to the existing systems. The main task to implement HABIOS-NOW is to improve the integration of the various monitoring systems currently being implemented independently by the five U.S. Gulf States, the federal government, and the research community. This step in the development of the HABIOS leverages existing resources, and is an activity that is crucial in a tight fiscal environment. The goal is to integrate the available data and products into an improved data/product stream with management tools for decision-making.

Detailed discussions of existing capabilities, which generally are operated independently of each other, are given in the HABIOS Design Plan I and the Workshop Reports (Workshop #1 and Workshop #2). The existing capabilities include Federal, State, academic, and private institution assets, with several academic and private institutions receiving partial funding from GCOOS or SECOORA to support their continued operation. Table 1 is a summary of existing assets. A brief recap of current capabilities is given below.

Table 1. Existing HAB Observational Assets

Asset Type Federal Assets State Assets Academic Research Institution Assets GCOOS Mexican Assets
Beach Quality 1
(how defined?)
              ?           X      
Beach Quality 2
(how defined?)
  X           ?                  
Moored OPD               X               X X
Moored IFCS                   X           X  
Other Moored X     X                   X      
AUV OPD Sampling X   NRL         X       X   X   X  
AUV Sampling                       X   X      
Ship-board Sampling           X   X     X     X      
Adaptive Sampling               X           X      
Other Sampling                                  
Satellite X                         X      
Surface Currents                       X   X      
Subsurface Currents                   TABS
CenGOOS mooring
Other PO Time Series       X           TABS WAVCIS X at
CenGOOS mooring
Data Integration Product X X                       X     X
Other Product 1                                  
Other Product 2                                  


2.1     Summary of Needs

Previous workshops on HABs noted that resource and public health managers have four areas of need: prediction, detection, tracking, and forecasting. This HABIOS implementation plan is set up to be responsive to each of these areas.

Prediction: The most effective mitigation for HAB occurs when there is early warning of the development of a HAB event. The K. brevis ecological model developed by USF is an example of a prediction model; however, it is limited to the West Florida shelf. No other models were presented at the 2nd workshop, but are needed for all potentially affected areas.

Detection: Is it actually happening? Where, what?

Various detection methods were discussed at workshop 2. Biological sensors are still in need for further development. Examples of biological sensors include those using optical, flow cytometry, fluorometric and genetic approaches. Issues regarding sensors include detection levels and false positives, power consumption, amount of human interface with data, and deployment methods (fixed stations such as piers, buoys, and AUVs). Detection techniques using satellites also require improvements.

Tracking/Monitoring: Where is the bloom going, what is happening to it?

In the second HABIOS workshop (April 2009) the available monitoring resources by category (e.g., environmental, biological samples), deployment mode, nontraditional oceanography (e.g., beach conditions reports, public reporting), and HAB monitoring groups were reviewed. The different needs of stakeholders, such as state managers, fishers, beach goers, and coastal businesses were identified and were linked this information to the vision for the HABIOS Plan to establish a sustained observing system with the ultimate goals to reduce and mitigate detrimental impacts of HABs.

Forecasting: To forecast and nowcast HABs, the most critical lack of information is the location of the HABs.

Existing forecast models are limited to K. brevis and use a combination of ocean color data from satellites and the limited, non-routine sampling that occurs when a HAB event is suspected by regulators. Although these models can identify general areas of HABs, they cannot provide HAB details at the coast at resolutions better than 10-30 km, even though several circulation models have considerably finer scales for the physical variables. Improving the resolution to scales of 10 km or less would enable improved alerts and shorten the time between closing and reopening of shellfish harvests with passage of HAB events and provide beach impacts at a ‘beach’ level instead of a county level. This situation points to the need for a diverse sampling strategy that includes human- and ship-based sampling, automated sampling at fixed stations (e.g., buoys, piers, and docks), and mobile assets such as gliders, profilers, and aircraft.

2.2     Karenia braves and Friends (consider updating or deleting this section)

The harmful algal-bloom species identified by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) as being of primary concern are Karenia brevis, Karenia mikimotoi, Gambierdiscus spp. (i.e., ciguatera), Dinophysis, Pseudo-Nitzschia, Pyrodiniu, and Karlodinium.

The toxic dinoflagellate Karenia brevis forms harmful algal blooms (HABs) throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The toxins produced by K. brevis cause massive fish kills, contaminate bivalves such as clams and oysters, and produce toxic aerosols (Stumpf et al. 2009). These HABs are threats to public health and result in closure of commercial seafood production, disruption of recreational fishing enterprises, and loss of tourism due to the dead fish and toxic aerosols at the beach. There is a critical need to detect and track these toxic blooms over economically relevant spatial/temporal scales.

On the Gulf coast of Florida, the major HAB species of concern is Karenia brevis. The epicenter of bloom initiation is offshore from St. Petersburg to Naples, FL. Maintaining ocean observations in this area is critical to provide early detection of the blooms and allow validation of forecast models. Unlike the annual blooms along the Florida coast, Karenia brevis blooms appear more sporadically in Texas, yet are increasing in frequency. Texas also experiences significant HAB blooms from other species, such as Dinophysis ovum. The number of HAB events reported in Texas since 1990 was twice the number reported for 1930-1980s (Villareal 2000). In AL, MS, and LA, there also are a variety of species than need monitoring, including the occasional bloom of Karenia brevis. Of increasing concern is the occurrence of the diatom, Pseudo-nitzschia, particularly in Louisiana coastal waters. This diatom seems to be appearing every spring in Louisiana and Mississippi (others?) coastal waters in high abundances and the associated toxicity seems to be a threat for many higher trophic level organisms.

2.3     Existing Federal Capabilities

NOAA HABS-OFS: The NOAA HAB Operational Forecast System (HAB-OFS) provides HAB Bulletins for both Florida and Texas. It is primarily focused on Karenia brevis, which has an observable signal from satellite ocean color sensors. These products have moved from the research and demonstration phase to operational products from NOAA. The bulletins are published twice a week during an active bloom event and once a week during non-bloom conditions. There are two types of information made available: bulletin for HAB responders and resource managers and a public bulletin. The public bulletin is text only. Any imagery is delayed for one week for validation through water samples to assure the interpretation of the imagery is correct. The bulletins have a rigorous metric to assure consistency across forecasters. The Bulletin provides a summary of both imagery and sampling results in a concise, easy to read document. HAB researchers may prefer raw data and real time data at a frequency higher that 2X/week, which HABIOS would provide.

NOAA-EPA HABSOS: An additional federal asset is the NOAA Harmful Algal BloomS Observing System (HABSOS), which currently is being revamped. It is intended to be a regional, web-based data and information dissemination tool with an international component in Mexico. It is supported by the Office of Research and Development of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, and the NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center. Phase 1, which is targeted for completion by March 2012, is to fix, remove, and/or replace the broken pieces in the existing HABSOS. Phase 2 is the retooling of HABSOS (back end to front end) based on a variety of requirements from different sources. The new HABSOS will contain multiple species and multiple ways to contribute data. It will have online access to historical data. There will be some limited linkages with the NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network as indicator data. The schedule calls for a pre-release in October 2012. A fundamental aspect of HABSOS is that it is a data-focused resource, not bloom forecasts, warnings, or non-environmental data such as public health data. The display of data will be map-based, and the data itself will be available.

NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network: The PMN began in 2001 with 3 volunteer groups in Charleston, SC and has since expanded throughout the coastal United States to now include more than 200 volunteers actively sampling over 140 sites in 17 states and the US Virgin Islands. Volunteer groups include 4th-12th grade classes, colleges and universities, aquariums, state parks, national estuarine research reserves (NERR), national marine sanctuaries (NMS), museums, non-profit organizations, master naturalists, master gardeners, and independent volunteers.

PMN volunteers are trained by NOAA staff on sampling techniques and identification methods for marine phytoplankton. There are over 50 genera on the volunteer data sheets, including 8 potentially toxin producing genera of dinoflagellates and diatoms. Since the inception of the program in 2001, more than 120 algal blooms and 7 toxic events have been reported by PMN volunteer groups. HAB species observed by the network include Dinophysis caudata, Dinophysis acuta, Dinophysis acuminata, Karlodinium micrum, Prorocentrum lima, Pseudo-nitzschia pseudodelicatissima, Pseudo-nitzschia multiseries, and Pseudo-nitzschia pungens.

In 2006, the PMN expanded to Florida; in 2007, expanded to Alabama and Texas; and in 2008 to Mississippi with 5 active stations there.

2.4     Existing State Capabilities

At present the main observational HAB data are collected on cruises or at piers and docks on a weekly basis, at best, which is not temporally ideal for early detection. Surface ocean color data from satellites may be a useful sampling technique for HAB species, such as Karenia brevis, that have a surface signature early enough that may allow detection before the bloom reaches harmful conditions. But, these HABs originate within subsurface layers on the outer shelf, often below the detection limit of satellite sensors. Furthermore, detection of many HAB species is complicated by poor water quality that makes optical sensors more difficult to use, and so sensors, such as the Imaging FlowCytobot, which are more expensive than Optical Phytoplankton Discriminator (OPD) sensors, are needed. Data used in association with ecosystem models are showing promise off Florida for Karenia brevis, but these research projects need to be transitioned eventually to operational status.

Texas: Texas has a state supported HAB sampling program through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). During blooms TPWD conducts daily conference calls with other agencies and universities to coordinate monitoring in order to avoid duplication of efforts, i.e. if another agency is collecting water samples in one area, TPWD will collect samples elsewhere. Once a HAB event is detected the Texas Department of Health (?) is contacted to ___{Describe TDH role?}______.

Louisiana: Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) Molluscan Shellfish Program conducts both a routine Water Quality monitoring program and a HAB monitoring program. Monthly water samples are collected from approximately 700 bacteriological sample stations and examined for fecal coliform. Other parameters recorded include salinity, temperature, and wind speed and direction. Generally at the same time, monthly water samples are collected from 24 HAB sample stations; of these 14 are located east of the Mississippi River. Samples are analyzed for cell counts of Karenia brevis, salinity, and other environmental conditions such as turbidity, tides, and wind are collected. In the event that cell counts exceed 5000/L, additional water samples are taken and analyzed by the state laboratory and oyster meats are analyzed for toxins at either the FDA laboratory or a qualified university or private laboratory. If HAB toxins (Brevetoxin only? Not Pseudo-nitzschia or cyanobacteria? are detected, the information is shared with NOAA, the FDA Shellfish Specialist, and shellfish officials from neighboring states. If toxins are above allowable threshold, affected shellfish areas would be closed to harvest. If beds are closed to harvesting, public advisories are issued by LDHH through press releases, the news media, and the LDHH website.

Mississippi: In March 2007, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) initiated a Marine Biotoxin Contingency Plan (Appendix B of Appendix 4) for all marine and estuarine shellfish growing areas. Under this plan, discrete water samples are collected. The water samples then are examined in-house for identification of potentially harmful phytoplankton species. Additionally MDMR conducts routine monitoring of water and shellfish meats according to National Shellfish Sanitation Program Guidelines. Data are not readily accessible to outside parties, however???.

Alabama: Alabama has about 100 miles of coast line along the Gulf of Mexico and in Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound. In past years there have been blooms of numerous HAB species, including Karenia brevis, that have been responsible for fish-kills and hypoxia. There are sharp gradients from very turbid, nutrient-rich, to very clear, nutrient depleted waters. Consequently, optically based monitoring is very difficult. The high diversity within the microalgae makes chlorophyll an unreliable proxy for HAB abundance. Alabama performs required HAB monitoring for compliance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program and employs a for HABs.

Florida: Florida has an extensive monitoring program in the Gulf of Mexico primarily focused on Karenia species. The effort is spearheaded by the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The program maintains and coordinates a human based sampling program including a volunteer program and survey work conducted by FWRI scientific staff. FWRI publishes a weekly conditions report that summarizes cell counts, fish kills, and other observations in tabular and map formats, including a Google Earth format that allows for interactive viewing. All individual samples collected by other Florida partners are encouraged to report their data into FWRI’s database. Through the original sampling activities of the MARVIN (MERHAB Autonomous Research Vessel IN situ) and now its follow-on HABMON (Harmful Algal Bloom Marine Observation Network), FWRI provides estuarine time series data at a limited and varying number of sites to evaluate physical, chemical and biological conditions that contribute to development of HAB events. There are also a few new and routine monitoring programs: weekly sampling at 5 Pinellas county shore-based stations for HABs and a suite of physical, chemical, biological data; spring and summer bi-monthly sampling in Tampa Bay, which is planned to include the HABMON platform; and an offshore monitoring program led by the group monthly off of Pinellas county.

2.5     Existing Academic HAB Capabilities

Much research is being conducted to develop new techniques for early detection of blooms. One technique is a combination of satellite data, water sampling and analysis for cell counts, and modeling (e.g., for K. brevis). For species that do not have a readily observable surface ocean color signal that can be obtain though satellites, water sampling and analysis for phytoplankton species are used to detect HABs. As an alternative to the arduous task of enumerating cell abundances manually by microscopy, two instruments which are currently being used in the Gulf of Mexico are the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) and the Optical Phytoplankton Discriminator (OPD).

The IFCB is a flow cytometer taking images of each cell in a known volume of water (Olson and Sosik 2007), provide an automated approach. In near real-time, the acquired images can be automatically classified into taxonomic groups (Sosik and Olson 2007) and cell abundance calculated. If the abundance exceeds a given threshold an automated message is sent to project personnel for evaluation and alerting state authorities.

OPD (aka BreveBuster) measures particulate light-absorbance spectra and colored dissolved organic material (CDOM) absorption spectra. These measurements are provided in real time. From the particulate light-absorbance spectra the OPD determines the best fit of multiple absorbance spectra from known phytoplankton taxonomic classes. Through this process the OPD provides an estimate of the phytoplankton community chlorophyll distribution among the classes included in the fit process. The major components of the OPD include: a liquid-waveguide capillary cell (LWCC), a fiber-optic spectrometer, a tungsten-deuterium fiber-optic light and a 0.2 micrometer pore cross-flow filter. In-water operation of the OPD began in May 2003. Since that date 27 of these instruments have been deployed on a variety of autonomous underwater vehicles, buoys, piers, channel markers and boats and ships. It has been utilized in CDOM studies off the New Jersey coast, in HAB monitoring efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes, and in phytoplankton community structure studies in the Galapagos Islands and the Mediterranean Sea. Recently, it has been deployed to Veracruz, Mexico for HAB monitoring. Presently, several OPD’s operating on Slocum gliders and coastal buoys make up a local HAB observatory south of Tampa Bay, Florida, partially supported by the NOAA/IOOS through GCOOS.

Texas A&M University: Using the Imaging FlowCytobot, researcher and professor Lisa Campbell of Texas A&M University (TAMU) developed a phytoplankton time series and HAB early warning system in Port Aransas, TX, at the entrance to the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Imaging FlowCytobot system has proven successful in providing early warning to the Texas State Department of Health Services for three HAB events. In all cases no human illness was reported. In 2008, successful identification of a toxic dinoflagellate Dinophysis ovum, the first reported bloom of this organism in US waters, allowed timely closure and recall of oyster harvests from the Port Aransas region (Campbell et al. 2010). Dinophysis blooms had never before been observed in the Gulf of Mexico, but forewarning of an increasing abundance of this okadaic acid-producing dinoflagellate (responsible for diarrhetic shellfish poisoning) led to oyster toxicity testing and a timely a recall of shellfish. In 2009 and 2010, early warning of blooms of Karenia brevis and Dinophysis ovum, respectively, allowed state officials to delay the opening of oyster season and no human illness was reported. Important outcomes of this project include a continuous time series of phytoplankton abundance at a sentinel station on the Texas coast that can give an early bloom detection. The IFCB is a powerful technique for identification and quantification of HABs in near real time. Phytoplankton images that have been collected as part of this ongoing work are part of a website that has been developed in coordination with the GCOOS Regional Association. Because it is a research project it has a limited time horizon for funding, and lack of sustained funding to operationalize this system may result in its removal from existing resources.

Louisiana State University: Researcher and professor Sibel Bargu-Ates of Louisiana State University conducted a project to monitor the distribution, abundance and toxicity of Pseudo-nitzschia in Louisiana coastal waters between 2007 and 2010. This was the only existing detailed study in Louisiana, and likely in the Gulf of Mexico, that focused on the toxicity (domoic acid) of this diatom. Data from the project are used to investigate the physical and chemical conditions that initiate and promote major algal blooms; to measure their species-specific growth response, cell abundance and toxin productions under changing nutrient conditions; and to examine the extent to which phytoplankton toxins, possibly from increasing HAB events, are permeating aquatic food webs. Analysis of data collected on the research cruises indicates this diatom seems to be appearing every spring in Louisiana coastal waters at high abundances and the associated toxicity seems to be threat for many higher trophic level organisms. The funding to continue this monitoring effort ended; however, it is essential to continue this monitoring effort to be able to assess the level of risk for fisheries and human health in the region. Since 2008 and continuing until the end of 2012, Dr. Bargu-Ates’s team also is collecting water samples to investigate cyanobacteria blooms and associated toxicity in Louisiana estuaries and in the Lake Pontchartrain. The lab provides the capability for quick identification of species responsible for HAB events and toxin measurements.

Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium: Researcher and professor Nancy Rabalais is director of LUMCON and has conducted research related to environmental conditions in Louisiana waters. LUMCON’s Environmental Monitoring System collects and archives real-time meteorological and hydrographic data to provide a broad community of scientists, educators, students, and the public with quality-controlled environmental data from Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Six remote monitoring stations are located along the southeastern Louisiana coast in Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River at New Orleans, Southwest Pass, Cocodrie, Terrebonne Bay, and Bay Tambour. The data from these stations are freely available in real-time. In addition, there are two integrated ocean observing systems with a full complement of meteorological, wave, current, and hydrographic data (including T, S, DO, turb, fluor) at two locations-offshore Terrebonne Bay in 20 m water depth and offshore Caminada Pass in 15 m water depth. These stations are a collaboration of the Rabalais’ NGOMEX06 program and LSU WAVCIS network (

Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory: ?

University of South Florida: The Center for Prediction of Red tides (CPR) was developed as a jointly funded project between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWC-FWRI) and the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science (USF-CMS). The mission continues to focus on development of an automated, coupled physical-biological model capable of predicting and tracking the dominant Florida red tide species, Karenia brevis, within coastal waters of the southeastern United States. The modeling system focuses on spatio-temporal connectivity, from west of DeSoto Canyon to south of the Florida Keys. Specifically, they use the FVCOM (Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model; Chen et al., 2003) nested into the Global HYCOM (HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model; Chassignet et al., 2003) to downscale from the deep ocean, across the shelf and into the estuaries. The WFS-FVCOM’s spatial resolution is high enough (as fine as 150 m) to resolve all of the primary conveyances of mass between the coastal ocean and its estuaries, as well as between Florida Bay and the Florida Straits (i.e., across the Florida Keys). WFS-FVCOM already exists and has been tested quantitatively against in situ data to establish its veracity (Zheng and Weisberg, 2012). In a previous version, WFS-ROMS and WFS-FVCOM were applied to abiotic studies of the winter transport of K. brevis (Weisberg et al., 2009). In 2011, prognostications of short-term distributions and tracking of the K. brevis bloom was routinely provided to FWC and Mote Marine Laboratory to guide event sampling. In addition, CPR and FWC have collaborated to provide a HAB tracking tool to both managers and the public ( FWC uploads cell counts to the tracking tool at their desired frequency. The model then provides 3.5 day trajectory forecasts of the bloom.

The Optical Oceanography Laboratory (OOL) at University of South Florida specializes in optical measurements and optical remote sensing. The OOL has established a virtual antenna data receiving and broadcasting system in the past several years under NASA and USF support. The Web-based system obtains MODIS and MERIS satellite in near real-time and applies the most cutting-edge algorithms to share customized data products on the Web, with full Google-Earth compatibility. The OOL has developed various algorithms to detect and track blooms of K. brevis (Hu et al., 2005; Cannizzaro et al., 2008 & 2009; Hu et al., 2011), Trichodesmium (Hu et al., 2010), Sargassum (Hu, 2009), and to trace eddies and ocean circulations (Hu, 2011). The customized images include Red-Green-Blue, enhance RGB, Chlorophyll-a concentration, Fluorescence Line Height (FLH), Sea Surface Temperature (SST), color index (CI), and maximum chlorophyll index (MCI). A user can bring the customized image and FWRI red tide cell counts data into Google-Earth through only one click, and visualize the HABs bloom patterns. Various water quality imagery are also available and updated daily. The OOL is working with the CPR at USF to merge the ocean circulation model results with the images, and improving image quality through algorithm refinement and validation. Data products can be accessed at under “Satellite Data Products.” These products receive hundreds to thousands of daily visits.

The USF CPR efforts have been scaled back in recent years due to funding limitations but would be able to ramp up activity to previous levels quickly if funding were made available. This would include a joint USF “next generation” HAB tracking tool that would utilize satellite bloom detection to replace the uploaded cell counts from FWC. The new tool would be linked to the high resolution WFS-FVCOM circulation model, thus allowing for transport into and out of the bays and intercoastal waterways, as well as through passes in the Florida Keys and barrier islands. Cell counts will still be added to the final images as they become available for validation of model performance. The new HAB tracking tool would improve upon the original by reducing the time from near surface sample collection to forecast product from ~2 days to <1 day and creates a more complete and accurate spatial picture of the bloom transport at a sub-kilometer resolution. Eventual addition of subsurface samples or inferences from gliders and other means will further increase the forecast lead times.

Mote Marine Laboratory: The Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) applies multiple strategies for observations of Karenia brevis within limited geographic locations. A large portion of MML’s efforts is based on the Optical Phytoplankton Discriminator (OPD) which is capable of unattended, long term deployments to detect presence of HAB as well as other phytoplankton species. Fixed stations in the water using the OPD (MML) provide continuous sampling in areas of high interest. MML also developed the Beach Conditions Reporting System that uses fixed stations on beaches to provide information on the presence or absence of toxic aerosols. Adaptive sampling strategies using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with OPD payloads map blooms at depths where satellite imagery is not effective. MML also performs shipboard sampling and daily water sampling from 2 locations on campus (New Pass and Sarasota Bay). These sampling activities are maintained by MML through leveraging of resources from the State, local governments, and federal research programs.

MML also a co-op program with FWC and coordination for data sharing, tracking and mapping blooms, planning for upcoming joint cruises, etc.

The University of Southern Mississippi: The University of Southern Mississippi operates the Central Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (CenGOOS) in the Mississippi Bight. A 3-m discus buoy is moored at 30.0433°N 88.6490°W, and long-range CODAR stations are operated at Pascagoula, MS, Orange Beach, AL, and Destin, FL, providing surface currents on an hourly basis. These stations are funding through IOOS as part of the GCOOS. CenGOOS also has two Slocum gliders in inventory, with a OPD payload that can be placed in either AUV. Presently, CenGOOS has no funding for operation of these gliders, but they could be made available for operation with appropriate agreements.

2.6     Existing Capabilities in Mexico

Mexico HAB Program description.

2.7     Implementation Plan for HABIOS-NOW


  1. Maintain and enhance the present level of early warning of HAB events
  2. Enhance integration of the observing systems currently being implemented

Table X shows the Implementation Plan for the HABIOS-NOW System.

Critical Need What
Who (Lead and
When Estimated
States: TX Existing            
AL Existing            
MS Existing            
LA Existing            
FL Existing            
Fed Existing: NOAA            
Academic Existing: TAMU            
USM Surface Currents Howden Existing None to HABIOS IOOS/GCOOS  
Slocum gliders Howden Existing Incremental O&M by other institutions if lent out.
~$100K if USM operates a stand-alone system


3.0     HABIOS Design (HABIOS-NEXT) This section needs work; it is mismatched in time-scaleto the other sections

This section describes the generic design considerations for HABIOS and illustrates the implementation plan for the next 5-10 years. This presents the basic implementation plan, which will evolve in its details but not its substance as more information comes in about tools and needs.

  • HABIOS-NEXT, based on current, on-going, soon-to-be-completed research and technology development; and
  • Addition of new observing assets (HABIOS-NEXT), including
    • mobile observations to give better resolution for detection and tracking;
    • physical observations of currents to allow better forecasts of movement for tracking;
    • fixed observations for detection;
  • Enhancement of data products and tools as well as forecast capabilities for use by managers in closings and warnings (HABIOS-NEXT)

“Undersampling” is a fundamental problem for in situ measurements, so establishing sentinel stations on the basis of historical data and adaptive sampling is critical. Sentinel stations are fixed sampling systems, with a suite of instrumentation, that are mounted on piers, buoys, and other fixed platforms in the water body. They provide continuous data streams, obtained in real time with telemetry capability, in all weather conditions. These fixed HAB stations, however, are geographically limited, providing data at only the site of the station. To obtain spatial resolution, coastal instruments that provide continuous detection by profiling the water column will be needed in areas frequently impacted by HABs. Once a bloom is detected, adaptive sampling protocols can be used to provide the detail needed on the distribution and change of concentration and toxicity of the bloom. AUVs are new technologies that can be used for adaptive sampling that otherwise would be done by traditional, more costly, ship-based sampling. Gliders, a form of AUV, typically carry current, temperature, and salinity sensors as well as fluorometers, spectrophotometers, and particle sensors. The observations from these systems also can be used for data assimilation in circulation models. Continuous observations for HABs at coastal points aid in identifying patchiness and can significantly improve transport prediction.” (see Jochens et al. 2010 and references therein)

3.1     Assumptions

The major assumptions for the next 5-10 years used to guide the HABIOS-NEXT design are:

  1. Different parts of the Gulf of Mexico have different needs regarding HABs.
  2. OPD will remain a desirable ‘sniffing’ unit for K. brevis over the next 5 years, coupled with imagery as a tool, especially in FL
  3. K. brevis will remain the major HAB of concern for FL.
  4. A variety of species in the waters of AL, MS, and LA will need to be monitored.
  5. In AL, MS, and LA where HAB species other than Karenia are of concern and where the OPD has yet to be applied, the Flow Cytobot may initially be more appropriate.
  6. Texas coastal waters will continue to be subject to blooms of K. brevis as well as other HAB species, so a combination of optical, imaging, and/or genetic structure sampling system will be used.
  7. A sustained set of observations of HAB taxa will be built out and maintained over the long-term to monitor changes in algal community structure from climate changes or other environmental factors, including effects of pollution (e.g., Deepwater Horizon oil spill) and eutrophication on community structure.
  8. Ship-board and shore-based sampling will remain the adaptive management tool of choice for regulatory purposes after HAB detection.
  9. AUV technologies will evolve to provide location detection and monitoring capability.
  10. Satellite detection technology and algorithm will continue to improve
  11. HAB modeling will improve to pre-operational states.
  12. Surveillance??
  13. Living marine resources impacts monitoring?
  14. Since HFR is a priority item for IOOS it is assumed that the HFR network in the Gulf of Mexico will be built-out independent of HABIOS.
  15. Other?


Map courtesy of

Map courtesy of

3.2   Design Considerations

Variable to monitor: Key variables needed in near real time are:

  • Biological:phytoplankton biomass (e.g., chlorophyll fluorescence), HAB abundance (e.g., cell counts or cell equivalents and chlorophyll), toxicity
  • Medical: respiratory irritation, airborne toxins
  • Chemical: temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, chlorophyll
  • Optical: spectral light attenuation and reflectance, backscattering and fluorescence
  • Physical: Three-dimensional velocity and water density (T/S) distributions (e.g., from HF radars and acoustic current profilers) plus surface meteorology from moorings and coastal stations

Temporal sampling: Based on the needs of managers

  • When should monitoring be done? year-round? only during specific seasons? once a month?
  • For fixed assets, what should the sampling frequency be and why? hourly? daily? monthly?
    • Biological observations
    • Physical observations
    • Chemical observations
    • Optical observations
    • Medical observations
  • For AUVs, how should the profiling be set up? How frequently would a transect be repeated? How can HABIOOS leverage plans for AUV hypoxia monitoring? Given the multiple uses of AUVs, what protocol will be used for directing AUVs to change course and respond to needs of modelers and remote sensors for validating apparent detection/nowcast/forcast of HABS? Will this be accomplished through some sort of operations center, or by some other means?
  • Real-time data should be transmitted to on shore processing facilities within a maximum of 30 minutes (why this number?) after measurements are made.

HAB Species Identification Technology: OPDs, Imaging FlowCytobot, water samples-lab analyses, cell count technologies, toxin technologies, others

Both the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) and Imaging FlowCytobot were reviewed for this plan, as they both have more specificity of community structure than the OPD. A comparison of cost information is given in Table 2. Other instruments that are possibilities are the Autonomous Microbial Genosensor (AMG) being developed by University of South Florida (USF) and the Shadowed Image Particle Profiling and Evaluation Recorder (SIPPER) also in current research projects at USF. Depending on the timing of implementation, these technologies may need to be revisited. Additionally, a recent EPA sponsored project compared these different technologies for K. brevis blooms, however the results of the project were not available at the time of this writing.


Table 2. Costs for ESP and Flow Cytobot as Fixed HAB Stations

Unit Type Capital Equipment O&M
ESP $600,000 $xx,xxx 1? 3?
Flow-Cytobot $125,000 $xx,xxx 1? 3?


Sampling Technology:

The sampling tools used in the HABIOS will consist of a variety of strategies to cover the largest practical area of the Gulf while intensely covering areas with long histories of bloom impacts and/or areas that would impact human health the most (shellfish beds and beaches).


Fixed measurements include moorings, stations at piers and docks

  • Where to locate (are locations of currently operating moorings and platforms logical first steps?)
  • When to locate
  • Other


The highest priority for HAB detection and forecasting in the Gulf of Mexico is to increase the number of mobile assets. The use of mobile assets will clarify identification of areas that need fixed assets and, as the system is built out, those fixed stations could be implemented. Additionally, autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs, such as the Webb Slocum glider and or the Bottom Stationed Ocean Profiler (BSOP) with payloads of either the Optical Plankton Discriminator (OPD) or CTDs and fluorometers and backscattering sensors would greatly improve the spatial and temporal data stream.

Future development of AUVs and HAB detection capabilities may allow for flexible selection of technology in future years. For the immediate future, however, it is essential that researchers and managers agree on a single AUV model so expertise can be shared across the coast and the AUVs can be readily moved and deployed to address the specific areas as they are impacted by HAB events. AUVs are extremely sophisticated and even people that have a high level of engineering and technology experience have a steep learning curve to become proficient (G. Kirkpatrick, per. comm). The Slocum glider is selected as the initial AUV of choice, at least for monitoring K. brevis, for 2 reasons. First, Gulf of Mexico researchers have the most experience with this AUV. Second, the payload has already been engineered for an OPD. About 3 to 4 AUV operations centers in the Gulf will be needed for deployment and retrieval of AUVs, with AUV mission control likely at the GCOOS data portal.

Techniques for rapid mapping of blooms, particularly in the case of K. brevis, using radiometric sensors from fast boats or aircraft may also be an effective management tool to determine extent of blooms and guide more detailed sampling.

For areas less frequently impacted by Karenia brevis blooms but subject to impacts of other HAB taxa, Imaging FlowCytobots are recommended to monitor for HAB species.


There are several satellite-based facilities in the Gulf States. The USF OOL’s virtual antenna receiving and broadcasting system represents a cost effective way to provide near real-time support for event response and integration with numerical models. The high-resolution (300-m) customized data products derived from MERIS measurements have shown great advantage in detecting and tracking small-scale blooms in coastal and nearshore waters ( Combined with other data products from MODIS, the synoptic and frequent coverage in near real-time make it an indispensable component in HABs monitoring and forecasting, as demonstrated in the past events. The hundreds to thousands of daily visits of the Web portal demonstrate the wide usage of these products. Current and future effort will focus on algorithm improvement and on product customization to make them more user friendly and easier to integrate with numerical forecast models.

Forecast Modeling Capabilities: As part of HABIOS-NEXT, the USF CPR will couple the WFS-FVCOM nowcast/forecast model (Zheng and Weisberg, 2012) with another extant biogeochemical model of C, N, P, and Si within the WFS food web, HABSIM (Harmful Algal Bloom SIMulations; Lenes et al., 2012), consisting of multiple functional groups of phytoplankton and zooplankton. This will complete a fully 3-dimensional (3-D) ecological modeling system in the eastern GOM to provide predictions of K. brevis bloom development, maintenance and termination, in addition to physical transport. The HABSIM will be run in parallel with FVCOM using a flux coupling software, the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) ( to enable “online” coupling of the physical and biogeochemical models into one modeling system. The ESMF has been widely used in coupled modeling applications of weather and climate such as NCAR CESM and coupled WRF-HYCOM. The ESMF will handle regridding, calendar management, logging and error handling, and parallel communications of fluxes between FVCOM and HABSIM. This coupling approach will allow for each model to run in unison, while allowing the flexibility to upgrade each model separately.

Similarly to the “next generation” HAB tracking tool, satellite data provided by OOL (see Satellite Assets) will be assimilated into the model as available to increase model fidelity. This partnership greatly expands the forecast potential of the individual groups, thus providing maximum return on the infrastructure investment.

3.3     Implementation Plan for HABIOS-NEXT

“The integrated observing system for HAB forecasting consists of an observational network that measures the physical, biogeochemical, and meteorological variables necessary to detect, track, and monitor HABs. The ideal system includes a data information framework that integrates quality controlled data from the many available sources and enables them to be assimilated for numerical predictions of the locations and times HABs are likely to develop in a particular ecosystem, their spatial extent once they have begun to develop, and where they are likely to be transported in the future. Of these, the greatest challenges are forecasting the location and timing of blooms early in their development (e.g., Stumpf et al., 2009a). Addressing these challenges and improving operational forecasting capabilities depend on four key elements: (1) improved near-real-time observations of ecosystem conditions based on in situ and remote sensing measurement technologies; (2) data-assimilating models that couple, physical, biochemical, and population dynamical parameters; (3) timely dissemination of data and information in forms most useful to decision makers; and (4) management tools for warnings and mitigation, as well as assessment of the epidemiological impacts of HABs.” (from Jochens et al. 2010) These four elements are summarized in 3.3.1 through 3.3.4.

3.3.1     Observing System

The challenge of the HABIOS plan is the amount of coastline it must cover. To protect human health, systems must be in place in the near shore and estuarine environments. To cover this coastline effectively, fixed stations are needed at 30 km increments in 4 areas spanning ~1500 km: Naples to St Petersburg, FL; Apalachicola, FL to Terrebone Bay, LA; Galveston to Port Aransas, TX; and Port Aransas, to Brownville, TX. These locations were selected based on the current availability of facilities that could maintain and service platforms, and the historical records of where blooms initiate or have occurred in the past (see Figure 1). One area that has a need for monitoring is from Terrebonne Bay, LA, to Galveston, TX. This area has few facilities capable of supporting or servicing fixed stations, so none are currently planned for installation.

In addition, mobile assets of AUVs and Bottom Stationed Ocean Profiler BSOPs will be used in the four areas described above as well as the area between Terrebonne Bay, LA, and Galveston, TX. Monitoring in this fifth area will be addressed through mobile assets (gliders). Gliders will be used for both a ‘sniffing’ approach to look for a HAB event and as ‘trackers’ once a HAB had been located. BSOPs will be used primarily as trackers once a bloom has been identified, since they primarily profile the water column.

The Beach Conditions Reporting System (BCRS) (link?) will be expanded to the other major public beaches in the Gulf States to inform people of presence/absence of toxic Karenia aerosols. The beach sentinels also serve as ‘sniffers and ‘trackers’ for Karenia blooms as respiratory irritation is a well-documented impact of Karenia blooms.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Monitoring plan for HABs.
Legend: Red and Yellow zig-zags are gliders paths. Yellow open circles are fixed HAB detectors (OPDs). White lines are fixed moorings.
Yellow filled circles are “High value” HAB detectors (Flow Cytobots).

Needed: Describe contingency plans for replacement of lost or damaged instrumentation, back-ups, instrumentation servicing, refurbishment, and replacement (what is the expected lifetime of an asset?)

Remote sensing: Two types of remote sensing are most needed. First is to detect surface currents using HF Radar. The spatio-temporal requirements for surface currents put forth in the IGOS Coastal Theme Report for the EEZ is 5 km spatially, 1 hr temporally with an accuracy of 10 cm/s. To cover the U.S. Gulf coast would require approximately 38 HFRs (see GCOOS Build-out Plan and Figure 2). Modelers may need a nested grid that corresponds to the HFR grid so must coordinate with HF radar group. Second is ocean color data and images from satellite. These data currently are used in the development of the forecast information in the HAB-OFS Bulletins and in models for K. brevis off Florida’s Gulf coast.

Figure 2. Locations of planned HF Radar Stations for measuring surface currents out to ~100 km offshore.

Figure 2. Locations of planned HF Radar Stations for measuring surface currents out to ~100 km offshore.


3.3.2     Models and Analysis System

{attributes of desired modeling support for HAB monitoring For model element, what is expected lifetime before new, improved model will be available?}

There are a variety of existing models that may be applicable for use in HAB forecasting. Particle tracking models have been used by scientists at NRL to project the movement of blooms (Reference). Ecosystem models (Bissett, Walsh, Kamykowski, and others) are used, presently by researchers, to examine mechanisms for bloom development and aggregation, although these have not been used operationally.

The attributes for the models are:

  1. Biophysical model that can couple both growth rates and physical transport
  2. Ability for users to manipulate driving parameters in a user-driven model (e.g., GUI) to allow users to assess how changes in the physics, chemistry and biology might affect the outcomes
  3. Quantification of the degree of certainty
  4. Near “real time” updating

{What parameters are needed to make a biophysical, empirical, operational model for Karenia? This could be inexpensive – e.g. if it is a matter of filling in some growth constants – or it could be totally unreasonable, if there are larger data gaps. How to get this off the ground? where do we stand and what do we need}

3.3.3     Data Management System {Needs work}

Attributes of desired data management for HABs (public accessibility versus manager only) {allow for/plan data sharing via a broader ecological portal (e.g. Network for Biocomplexity, Center for Ecological Analyses and Synthesis, etc). This could help with long-term data storage and would better integrate the HAB scientists with the other ecologists.} For DMAC, include what back-up systems if any are needed.

3.3.4     Products and Tools for Decision-making System (March meeting will flesh this out)

what do managers need from the HABIOS? {What Dept. of Health folks have to say will really drive this. The “how much”, “where” and “how toxic” are important needs for these folks.}

beachgoers and associated tourism activities, shell fisherman (both commercial and recreational), fin fisherman (both commercial and recreational), and recreational boaters {It is good to identify the stakeholders right up front. Have you been able to get input on the data products/data portal from any of these audiences? The data products I want will certainly differ from the data products these stakeholders want.}.

{As a user friendly tool that allows for overlaying of different data feeds, GE products would be great to have as a data output in the proposed system’s portal.}

3.4     Other issues for HABIOS-NEXT

Linkages to living marine resources {Who?}

Linkages to surevelliance: {ANDY/CDC}

Issues for Monitoring in Bays and Estuaries: HAB events in bays and estuaries are particularly problematic. It may be difficult to identify sites for fixed platforms; a set of site selection criteria should be developed. Deployment of mobile assets may not be viable in certain locations because of ship traffic, insufficient water depth and similar issues; these locations should be identified and incorporated into the mobile asset deployment plan. A pilot project for the development of an ‘app’ that citizen sentinels could use to identify unusual events in bays and estuaries is one approach. This app would be marketed to charter fishermen (particularly flats fisherman) as a demonstration project to obtain better information regarding events in the very near shore environment.

3.5     Estimated Costs of HABIOS-Next

Table 2 provides estimates of the costs for the system described above.

Table 2. Estimated Cost for Initial HAB Monitoring System

(needs clearer distinction between first-year one-time costs, versus annual O&M)

(needs clearer distinction between HABIO-NOW, and work to get to –NEXT and –FUTURE)

Asset Number needed Approx. price FTEs to support Total Cost/Yr
Mobile Assets
Slocum gliders 8 $150,000/glider   $1.2M (one time?)
Glider consumables, communications, personnel, O&M   $20,000/month
(includes ship time?)
4 $240,000
BSOPS 12 (6/region) $35,000 ea 6* $420,000 hardware
$300,000?? personnel
Annual replacement costs        
Fixed assets
BCRS expansion 10 – FL (new)
6 – LA
6- MS
20 TX
6- ALA
$5,000/beach yr1
$2500/beach subsequent years
4 $310,000
Platforms/buoys (48) 48- CTD fluorometer $30,000/ea
(2 for multiple depths)
  $1.4 M
  16-OPDs $30,000/ea   $480,000
  48 buoy, communications, anchors, etc. $50,000/ea   $2.4 M
Maintenance     6 $300,000
Boat time to service/ground truth        
High Specificity (flow Cytobot) 6 $125,000 ea 3* $750,000 hardware
$300,000 personnel
$60,000 parts
Annual replacement costs        
Pilot Project for Bays and Estuaries
Remote Sensing
Near shore HF radar        
Ocean Color     1.5 150,000/year
Volunteer sentinels (PMN)       $96,000/yr**
Modeling component
Karenia brevis       $300,000/yr+
Other HAB species        
NOAA HAB Bulletin       $600,000/yr
Data Management
Products and Tools
Product 1        
Product 2        
Product 3        
Product N        
Research Improvements
Ship time for sample verification       $50,000/yr***

* May be shared position with glider ops or flow Cytobot
** Estimate from Steve Morton, PMN, NOAA
*** This is an approximation with the assumption that these will be small boat/day trips or 1-2 day trips at most for sensor/satellite ‘flags’ of an area – not for traditional synoptic cruises
+ USF CPR nowcast/forecast biochemical-physical modeling system for K. braves

Costs not included in the estimate: These estimates do not include the current efforts conducted by the individual States or Federal agencies. For example, the State of Florida currently has a $1.6 million per year budget for HAB monitoring. This program provides vital data that are used by the NOAA HAB forecast system. Costs of the physical and other monitoring that feed into models are not covered, but the high frequency radar system for the Gulf is a major component of the HAB monitoring as it gives the surface currents over the area of interest. The costs of the development of HAB modeling to an operational capability and of those operations are not included.

Total cost for the HABIOS-NEXT

Mobile Assets

  • Equipment (Gliders, BSOPs, and ship time) = $1,820,000
  • Operating costs (personnel and consumables) = $590,000
  • FTEs created = 10

Fixed Assets

  • Equipment(buoys, OPDs, flurometers, FlowCytobots) = $4,900,000
  • Operating costs (personnel and consumables) = $1,146,000
  • FTEs created = 13

Other costs (DMAC, PO, Model, etc.)

3.6     Funding Sources


3.7     Phased Implementation of HABIOS-Next

Phases for Implementation: xxxx

The matrix in Appendix A provides information on a phased implementation of HABIOS. The recommended order for implementation is:

  1. Mobile assets – gliders and BSOPs
  2. HF Radar surface current monitoring network
  3. Fixed platforms


Table Y. HABIOS-NEXT Monitoring Capabilities Implementation Plan

Critical Need What (Requirement) Who (Lead and Collaborators) When Estimated Cost Long-term Funding Source Comment
States: TX            
Fed – NOAA            
Academic -TAMU            


4.0 Needed new assets (HABIOS-FUTURE)

4.1 Limitations of HABIOS-NEXT

The basic implementation plan for HABIOS ______ which will evolve in its details but not its substance as more information comes in about tools and needs.”

  • HABIOS-FUTURE, based on knowledge and technology still to be defined and performed.
  • Enhancement of the HABIOS to respond to changing conditions (HABIOS-FUTURE).

User needs are particularly important for development of operational forecast models and new sensors for measuring required biological (e.g., HAB species abundance) and chemical (e.g., concentrations of HAB toxins) variables in near real time.

4.2 Needed Research and Development to Improve Capabilities

(the following is a placeholder about NOAA R&D….how to include it?)

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) is leading NOAA efforts to research and understand harmful algal blooms (HABs), to develop tools to combat these toxic tides.

For example, NCCOS’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms Research Program is producing new methods to detect HABs and their toxins, to understand HAB dynamics, to develop HAB forecasts, and to predict and reduce impacts on people and ecosystems.

The NOAA Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms Research Program is expanding efforts to monitor waters and shellfish, to help more coastal communities know when they are at risk and how to respond.

While most HAB programs in NOAA fall within NCCOS, HAB research, management, and response efforts span across many offices. NOAA’s Oceans & Human Health Initiative, for example, supports a wide range of HAB research with a focus on public health.

Advancements needed in
     sampling technology
     ecosystem modeling
     forecasting advancements {I think the USF CPR can be revived with a little funding!}

The future advancements to the USF CPR forecast modeling system will include incorporation of the new data streams and detection methods from the planned build out of the ocean observing system, as they become available during the 3 stage implementation of this plan. The data streams will provide both assimilation products and model verification in order to increase the model forecast accuracy and length. Upgrades to the model formulation will be conducted as new information about HAB dynamics is discovered. In addition, the model will be expanded to include other HAB species and pathogens as deemed necessary by managers.

New assets that are not available at this time are rapid toxin detectors and in situ toxin detectors. This is a critical need for the shellfish industry as rapid and/or in situ toxin detectors may allow for earlier sampling of shellfish meat for toxin testing, a requirement for re-opening growing areas after a toxic bloom. {Or even rapid detectors that are not in situ (e.g. SHA). Although SHA won’t work for re-opening beds, it might be effective to scan samples to determine if samples should even be used in a bioassay. A major weakness is our ignorance of molecular tools (obviously not limited to SHA) for toxin testing. A first goal would be to standardize a molecular method for brevetoxins testing along the Gulf. What cross-talk has occurred previously w/ respect to this?}

In addition, both the ESP and Flow Cytobot are available on stationary platforms only and both have power consumption issues. To create a HABIOS that can serve the entire Gulf of Mexico, the addition of mobile versions of these or similar detectors would be ideal. {Isn’t there already a portable cytobuoy or flow cam? saw it at CERF this fall.}

The addition of techniques such as radiometry for rapid mapping of bloom distributions using either fast boats or aircraft would aid managers in identifying areas of critical concern and help in focusing more detailed sampling. Fixed platforms with radiometers could also be used where power and communications were available.

what technology? What modeling/forecasting advancements? {I think the USF CPR can be revived with a little funding!}

4.3 Data Products

Data products of the future will be based on Smartphone technology, allowing all users to select the observation from the assets, the frequency they want the data reported to them, and the parameter value when they want the observation. For example, some users may need to see chlorophyll observations when the value exceed 3 µg/L, other users may not be interested in chlorophyll data until 10 µg/L. User will also be able to select how they want the data displayed, in a map view, in a table view, or both. All data will be easily exportable to Excel, ASCII, or other ‘new’ applications.

4.4     Resource Manager Tool Box

Managers- do you want one stop shopping? One portal that gives you everything {CD: I think this concept of integrated data into products would need to be defined or described better for the resources managers so they could think about the possibilities. Maps are appealing, but would they show forecasted movement or affected areas with a color-coded, tiered bloom intensity scale?} pulled into formats you want? Do you want raw data in table form? Do you prefer maps? Do you want links to different sites that may interpret their own data? I need your help here! {AC: I want one stop shopping, but the ability to choose my products from a diverse suite of products (e.g. downloading an image or GE file, downloading raw data in ASCI). I would also want near real time data – so that I went here and not somewhere else. I assume you are familiar with the SCCOOS portal? I think it is a great example of how different data products can be available in different formats. It has, for example, various products in a clickable window and then it always has the ability to grab raw data or create maps. The site has grown in the last 10 years considerably – from a site with just some mooring data to a site that is fluid and changes on a regular basis with different projects.}

4.5     Summary of HABIOS-FUTURE Implementation Plan

Table Z. Future HAB Monitoring Capabilities Implementation Plan

Critical Need What (Requirement) Who (Lead and Collaborators) When Estimated Cost Long-term Funding Source Comment
States: TX            
Fed – NOAA            
Academic -TAMU            


4.3     Resource Manager Tool Box for the Future

Managers- do you want one stop shopping? One portal that gives you everything? To be addressed in workshop 3.

4.4     Public Data Products for the Future

The GCOOS data products of the future will be based on Smartphone technology, allowing all users to select the observation from GCOOS assets, the frequency they want the data reported to them, and the parameter value when they want the observation. For example, some users may need to see chlorophyll observations when the value exceed 3 µg/L, other users may not be interested in chlorophyll data until 10 µg/L. User will also be able to select how they want the data displayed, in a map view, in a table view, or both. All data will be easily exportable to Excel, ASCII, or other ‘new’ applications.

6.0     References {needs completion}

Campbell, L., Olson, R. J., Sosik, H. M., Abraham, A., Henrichs, D. W., Hyatt, C. J. & Buskey, E. J. 2010. First harmful Dinophysis (DINOPHYCEAE, DINOPHYSIALES) bloom in the US is revealed by automated imaging flow cytometry. J. Phycol. 46:66-75.

Cannizzaro, J. P., K. L. Carder, F. R. Chen, C. A. Heil, and G. A. Vargo (2008). A novel technique for detection of the toxic dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, in the Gulf of Mexico from remotely sensed ocean color data. Cont. Shelf Res. 28:137-158.

Cannizzaro, J. P., C. Hu, D. C. English, K. L. Carder, C. A. Heil, and F. E. Muller-Karger (2009). Detection of Karenia brevis blooms on the west Florida shelf using in situ backscattering and fluorescence data. Harmful Algae 8:898-909.

Chassignet, E.P., Smith, L.T., Halliwell, G.R., Bleck, R., 2003. North Atlantic simulation with the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM): Impact of the vertical coordinate choice, reference density, and thermobaricity. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 33:2504-2526.

Chen, C.S., Liu, H.D., Breadsley, R.C., 2003. An unstructured, finite-volume, three- dimensional, primitive equation ocean model: application to coastal ocean and estuaries. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 20, 159–186.

Hu, C., F. E. Muller-Karger, C. Taylor, K. L. Carder, C. Kelble, E. Johns, and C. Heil (2005). Red tide detection and tracing using MODIS fluorescence data: A regional example in SW Florida coastal waters. Remote Sens. Environ., 97:311-321.

Hu, C. (2009). A novel ocean color index to detect floating algae in the global oceans. Remote Sens. Environ. 113 :2118 :2129.

Hu, C., J. Cannizzaro, K. L.Carder, F. E. Muller-Karger, and R. Hardy (2010). Remote detection of Trichodesmium blooms in optically complex coastal waters: Examples with MODIS full-spectral data. Remote Sens. Environ., 114:2048-2058.

Hu, C. (2011). An empirical approach to derive MODIS ocean color patterns under severe sun glint. Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L01603, doi:10.1029/2010GL045422.

Hu, C., J. Cannizzaro, K. L. Carder, Z. Lee, F. E. Muller-Karger, and I. Soto (2011). Red tide detection in the eastern Gulf of Mexico using MODIS imagery. In: Morales, J., V. Stuart, T. Platt, and S. Sathyendranath (Eds.) (2011). Handbook of Satellite Remote Sensing Image Interpretation: Applications for Marine Living Resources Conservation and Management, EU PRESPO and IOCCG, Dartmouth, Canada. p95 – 110.

Lenes, J.M., B.P. Darrow, J.J. Walsh, J.K. Jolliff, F.R. Chen, R.H. Weisberg, and L. Zheng. 2012. A 1-D simulation analysis of the development and maintenance of the 2001 red tide of the ichthyotoxic dinoflagellate Karenia brevis on the West Florida shelf. Continental Shelf Research (in review).

Olson, R. J. & Sosik, H. M. 2007. A submersible imaging-in-flow instrument to analyze nano-and microplankton: Imaging FlowCytobot. Limnology and Oceanography-Methods 5:195-203.

Sosik, H. M. & Olson, R. J. 2007. Automated taxonomic classification of phytoplankton sampled with imaging-in-flow cytometry. Limnology and Oceanography-Methods 5:204-16.

Stumpf, R, Tomlinson, M, Calkins, J, Kirkpatrick, B, Fisher, K, Nierenberg, K, Currier, R, and Wynne, T. 2009. Skill Assessment for an Operational Algal Bloom Forecast System. Journal of Marine Systems, 76, 151-161.

Villareal, T. A., Brainard, L. W. & McEachron, L. W. 2000. Gymnodinium breve (Dinophyceae) in the western Gulf of Mexico: resident versus advected populations as a seed stock for blooms. Ninth Internationl Conference on Harmful Algal Blooms, Hobart, Tasmania, 1-5 Feb. 2000. UNESCO, pp. 153-56.

Weisberg, R. H., A. Barth, A. Alvera-Azcárate, and L. Zheng. 2009. A coordinated coastal ocean observing and modeling system for the West Florida Shelf. Harmful Algae 8, 585-598.

Zheng, L. and R.H. Weisberg (2012), Modeling the West Florida Coastal Ocean by Downscaling from the Deep Ocean, Across the Continental Shelf and into the Estuaries, Ocean Modeling, in press


Appendix A: Phases of Implementation for the HABIOS

TABULAR MATRIX – Activity ordering, What, When (NOW, NEXT, FUTURE), Who, How much

{Is activity 1 useful without activity 2 and 3?}


Appendix B:

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR)
Mississippi Marine Biotoxin Contingency Plan
For All Marine and Estuarine Shellfish Growing Areas

March 1, 2007

  1. Emergency Shellfish Sampling And Assay Program
    1. Department of Marine Resources (DMR) personnel will collect routine water samples quarterly when the areas are opened to harvest or prior to opening by boat throughout the season from indicator stations, to be assayed for the presence of toxic algal blooms by DMR, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), Alabama Department of Public Health (ADOPH) or other appropriate personnel.
    2. DMR personnel will make field observations by boat during routine water sampling trips of shellfish growing areas. Areas of discolored water suspected to be from a bloom of dinoflagellate phytoplankton will be noted and GPS coordinates recorded.
    3. Reports to the DMR of marine biotoxins being detected in the adjacent waters of bordering states will intensify monitoring efforts.
    4. Over flights of Mississippi’s shellfish growing areas may be conducted as deemed necessary. Flight paths will include as many active reef areas as possible. DMR personnel will conduct all flight observations.
    5. Areas of discolored water suspected to be from blooms of dinoflagellate phytoplankton will be noted and GPS coordinates recorded.
    6. DMR personnel will investigate possible dinoflagellate phytoplankton blooms reported by other reliable sources.
    7. DMR or other appropriate personnel will investigate indications of a potential bloom by collecting water samples for analysis where deemed appropriate.
    8. DMR, GCRL, ADOPH or other appropriate personnel will make identifications and cell counts per liter where appropriate.
    9. The HAB sample stations by area are (See Figure 1):
      1. Area 1 – W/S 1-7
      2. Area 2 – W/S 2-14C and 2-15B
      3. Area 3 – W/S 3-7
      4. Area 4 – W/S 4-2B, 4-8 and 4-9
      5. Area 5 – W/S 5-11
      6. Area 6 – W/S 6-10 and 6-15
      7. Area 7 – W/S 7-2 and 7-3
      8. Area 8 – W/S 8-14
  2. Close Growing Areas And Embargo Shellfish
    1. Identification of the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis (Gymnodinium breve) in water column exceeding 5,000 organisms per liter will immediately trigger a closure of affected shellfish-growing areas in Mississippi. Oyster areas that are affected will remain closed to harvest until concentrations drop below 5,000 cells per liter.
    2. Identification of plankton as one of the dinoflagellates Prorocentrum minimum, Gonyaulax monilata (Alexandrium monilatum), or the blue-green algae Oscillatoria erythrer will warrant no special actions regarding shellfish.
    3. In the event that unknown biotoxin-producing organisms are encountered, technical assistance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and others will be sought in determining closing and re-opening criteria.
    4. Shellfish-growing waters will be closed immediately and harvested contaminated shellfish shall be returned to the waters upon the presence of marine biotoxin-producing organisms in numbers sufficient to cause a health risk.
    5. Authority to close waters or embargo shellfish rests in:
      1. Mississippi Code of 1972, § 49-15-3. Definitions.
        1. “(e) “Illegal oysters” means:”
          1. “(i) All untagged shell stock;”
          2. “(ii) Shell oysters obtained from uncertified shops or dealers or from an unlicensed catcher;”
          3. “(iii) Oysters obtained from waters not declared safe and sanitary by the department, except those oysters caught by the commission for re-laying or under private leases pursuant to Section 49-15-27;”
          4. “(iv) Shucked oysters obtained from uncertified shops or repackers.”
      2. Mississippi Code of 1972, § 49-15-15. Powers and duties of commission.
        1. (1.)(a) “To exercise full jurisdiction and authority over all marine aquatic life and to regulate any matters pertaining to seafood, including cultivated seafood;”
        2. (1)(b) “To adopt, promulgate, amend or repeal, after due notice and public hearing, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law and subject to the limitations in subsection (2) of this section, rules and regulations authorized under this chapter, including, but not limited to, rules and regulations necessary for the protection, conservation or propagation of all seafood in the waters under the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi…”
        3. (1)(n) “To develop a resource management plan to preserve seafood resources and to ensure a safe supply of these resources.”
      3. Mississippi Code of 1972, § 49-15-21 (2.) – “…The enforcement officers may seize at any time aquatic life caught, taken or transported in a manner contrary to the laws of this state, and may confiscate and dispose of the same. …”
      4. Mississippi Code of 1972, § 49-15-36 (3) – “… The department may limit the sale of oysters for human consumption…”
      5. Mississippi Code of 1972, § 49-15-44. Sale or possession of illegal oysters prohibited; penalties. – “The commission shall prohibit the sale or possession of illegal oysters. It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to possess or to engage in the sale of oysters not certified in this state, or to shuck or repack for sale any illegal oysters, unless that person, firm or corporation possesses a bill of sale, valid permit or affidavit of another state, properly dated, evidencing the legality of the sale or possession of the oysters in that state. Any person in possession of illegal oysters shall be subject to civil or criminal prosecution and shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) or punished as provided in Section 49-15-63.”
      6. TITLE 22 PART 1
        1. Chapter 08 Shellfish Area Openings and Closings
          1. 102 – “If closure is necessitated by any other polluting event, which threatens imminent peril to public health, closure will be immediate and any oysters or other shellfish taken which have been subjected to such pollution as determined by the MDMR shall be returned to the water.”
        2. Chapter 12 Adulterated, Misbranded, or Unlabeled Shellfish and Products
          1. 100 – “It shall be unlawful for any person within the state of Mississippi to produce, harvest, provide, purchase, sell, offer, possess, or expose for sale, or have in possession with intent to sell, any raw shellfish and shellfish products which are adulterated, misbranded, or unlabeled and no person shall hold or pack shellfish under conditions whereby the shellfish may become adulterated.”
          2. 100.01 – “Any adulterated, misbranded, mislabeled, or unlabeled shellfish or shellfish products may be impounded by the direction of the MCMR or as hereby authorized the MDMR, its Executive Director, Director of Marine Fisheries, the Program Coordinator or other MDMR designee in charge of molluscan shellfish handling and processing, or Marine Patrol Officer.”
          3. 100.02 – “Seizure and disposal of such shellfish products shall be by the direction of the MCMR, or as hereby authorized the MDMR, its Executive Director or Marine Patrol Officer.”
        3. Chapter 21 Penalties
          1. 103 – “Any person in possession of shellfish in violation of any chapter of this Part shall be subject to confiscation and disposal of such shellfish by direction of any designated Marine Patrol Officer of the MDMR.”
  3. Prevent Harvesting of Contaminated Species.
    1. The harvest of shellfish contaminated by the presence of marine biotoxin-producing organisms in numbers sufficient to cause a health risk will be prevented by the resulting closure of affected waters.
  4. Provide For Product Recall.
    1. Title 22, Part 1, Chapter 08 Shellfish Area Openings and Closings, 102 – “If closure is necessitated by any other polluting event, which threatens imminent peril to public health, closure will be immediate and any oysters or other shellfish taken which have been subjected to such pollution as determined by the MDMR shall be returned to the water.”
  5. The DMR will immediately disseminate information on the occurrences of toxic algal blooms and/or toxicity in shellfish meats to adjacent states, the shellfish industry, and local health agencies by the most appropriate effective communication means available.
  6. The DMR will coordinate control actions taken by other state or federal agencies involved.

MS Department of Marine Resources
(228) 374-5000

Figure 1. Phytoplankton Sampling Stations

Figure 1. Phytoplankton Sampling Stations


Appendix 5: Evaluation of workshop

March 26-28, 2012
Pensacola, FL


Survey Results (n=17, one respondent missed Q5)
(5= Strongly Agree, 1= Strongly Disagree)
Mean Low High Question
4.15 4.00 1.00 5.00 Q1: The packet information was useful
4.68 5.00 3.50 5.00 Q2: Sessions were focused and productive
4.76 5.00 3.00 5.00 Q3: Opportunities for participation were adequate and balanced
4.71 5.00 4.00 5.00 Q4: Concerns of participants were heard and addressed
4.75 5.00 4.00 5.00 Q5: Participant input was documented accurately
4.47 5.00 3.00 5.00 Q6: The agenda provided ample time for discussion
4.65 5.00 4.00 5.00 Q7: Participant discussions were flexible and productive
4.35 4.00 3.00 5.00 Q8: Presentations were informative and useful
What part of this forum was the most productive? Why?
  • Breakout sessions, followed by summaries/sharing.
  • Breakout sessions; allowed each group to provide input and breakout reports showed common interests of all groups.
  • Breakout group process.
  • Leader did a really good job to develop the necessary discussions that helped for breakout sessions.
  • It seems well established what the purpose of HABIOS is. Agree or disagree, it helped to provide context for discussions of implementation. The concurrent breakouts helped illustrate that we are all on the same page (more or less).
  • The breakout sessions.
  • Hashing out details brought to light a lack of cohesive vision.
  • Summarizing the breakout reports.
  • Breakout sessions: small groups facilitated discussions and reduce barriers for input.
  • Networking and prepare plan for the future.
  • Breaking into small groups but discussing the same topic was genius – allowed for more productive discussions that what would have come out of the large group.
  • I felt that the breakout groups, along with the breakout group “nuggeting” was very productive.
  • The breakout groups allowed more unique thoughts in short amount of time.
  • The resultant end point for framing the plan.
  • Connecting with new people.
  • Breakout sessions.
  • The breakout groups for discussion.
What part of this forum was the least productive? Why?
  • Presentations of Mexico’s HABs monitoring system was good, but too long and with questionable fit to the agenda.
  • Just seemed [like a] slow kick-off on first day.
  • “Personalities” – only a few but disruptive.
  • More concerted guidance for the breakout sessions might have made them more productive – also greater focus on HABIOS – Now, especially integration of what currently exists. How will this integration occur?
  • None.
  • Voting.
  • Presentations – most just reiterated things attendees already knew.
  • The continuing arguments between strong personalities that should have been resolved years ago.
  • I think Monday could have been better focused, but the last two days of the workshop I felt were immensely productive.
  • Some of the large group discussions.
  • Really there were few.
  • None.
What contributed to the success of this meeting?
  • The facilitator, group of good scientists.
  • Great facilitator/s to keep us all on track.
  • Facilitator
  • Good diversity and [?]
  • Mel was a fantastic facilitator and was instrumental in keeping things focused and on track.
  • The enthusiasm of the participant[s].
  • Background info being available ahead of time… including goals.
  • Facilitator.
  • Excellent facilitators.
  • Good facilitation of the workshop and participants’ enthusiasm and partnership.
  • 1. Mel! Great job. 2. See Q1 [Breaking into small groups but discussing the same topic was genius – allowed for more productive discussions that what would have come out of the large group].
  • The melting pot of participants with differing interests and needs really helped develop the plan.
  • Good moderation, solid objectives, people interacting.
  • The people, the facilitators and Mel.
  • Good presentations.
  • Mix of ideas and different backgrounds.
  • The mixture of knowledge.
What further/additional information would you suggest is needed as we progress in this process?
  • Send small sections to review in pieces – large document overwhelms/if critical issues discuss by phone not email, use same process as breakouts so everyone is heard.
  • It is hard to imagine that this will be the final workshop. I think there was great progress, but a long way to go.
  • To keep in contact and feedback.
  • More clear definition/buy-in of goals and mission prior to this part of planning.
  • Greater participation by stakeholders!
  • Add more specific info from Mexico.
  • Fine tuning subgroups – ciguatera/benthic dinos, economic info and other socioeconomic info that can help focus issues for users and build a constituent base.
  • Central database open to all participants.
  • The evaluation of the progress.
Please feel free to use the back of this form for additional comments. Thank you for your feedback!
  • No tea during breaks – tea is liked by many.
  • While I think the breakouts were helpful and relatively productive, there are a few issues:
    • The length of the breakouts should have been longer. There was barely time to address what we were charged with and essentially no time to discuss and “vet out” what we had come up with.
    • While discussions of Next and Now are important, there was no adequate time spend on Now. There was little discussion of the programs and equipment that is currently in place (yes, this is in the draft plan, but some details are not accurate, and some discussion would likely have helped flush this out a bit). Essentially no discussion how, exactly, integration of existing systems will be undertaken.
    • Building off of the previous comment, while the meeting was far more productive than the 2009 one in St. Pete, it has also pointed out a great deal that still need[s] to be worked on (I don’t mean the science, but issues involving implementation). I’m not sure all that remains can be tackled via post-meeting individual efforts. It seems another workshop might be necessary. For example: There was very little discussion of the specifics of what the observing system would look like (again, its in the draft, but discussion by this group would have been very valuable).
  • Thanks!
  • Mel Briscoe was a fantastic facilitator!