PROJECT TITLE: Effects of climate changes on harmful algal and cyanobacterial blooms along the South Atlantic Ocean
Principal Investigator: Dr Márcio Silva de Souza
Address: Oceanography Institute (Federal University of Rio Grande - FURG), Italia Av., km-8, Carreiros, PO Box. 474, Rio Grande (Rio Grande do Sul), Zip Code: 96203-900
Other key persons: Dr. João Sarkis Yunes*
Dr. José Henrique Muelbert, Oceanography Institute (FURG), Italia Av., km-8, Carreiros, PO Box. 474, Rio Grande (Rio Grande do Sul), Zip Code: 96203-900; +5553-32336737
Objectives: Global warming effects, including the contribution of several anthropic activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, can affect biomes and many physical and chemical features of the oceans. These effects over the dynamics and structure of phytoplankton (including cyanobacteria) are not yet well understood. However, shifts in duration and frequency of meteorological events have been associated with the increasing in harmful algal blooms (HABs) across many coastal regions worldwide. This proposal aims at assessing direct and indirect effects of climate changes over these phytoplankton blooms in the Atlantic Ocean (between 0º35ºS), taking into account environmental database analysis combined with notifications of HABs in Brazil and, also, further lab experiments with target species that form known HABs. As far as possible, there will be compiled physical, meteorological and hydrographical information as well phytoplankton data across the study region since 1970s. With this dataset, we will evaluate the spatial and temporal environmental variability linking to bursts of HABs. Also, we intend to build predictive models of these biological events for the Brazilian coast and to carry on bioassays with certain strains of HAB obtained in some local laboratories. Temperature and nutrient concentration (nitrate, phosphate) are the variables chosen a priori to be tested. This project is being conducted at the Oceanography Institute of the Federal University of Rio Grande (Brazil) as my pos-doc fellowship research.
Map of the study area showing (a) cities at the west margin of the Patos Lagoon system, where patches (two red ellipses) of Microcystis spp. have been notified; (b) patches of Microcystis spp. (inside of red circle) seen on 02 February 2017, retrieved from Landsat-8 Enhanced Thematic Map plus (ETM+; https://eros.usgs.gov/satellite-imagery).
PROJECT TITLE: Source and fate of ciguatera fish poisoning-toxins and its implication on coral reef ecosystem health and seafood safety
Type: Research and Capacity building
Timeframe: March 2018 to February 2020
Principal Investigator: Dr. Po Teen Lim
Address: Bachok Marine Research Station, Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya, 16310 Bachok, Kelantan, Malaysia
Tel/Fax: +60 97785001/ 5006
Home page URL: http://www.harmfulalgae.info, https://umexpert.um.edu.my/ptlim
Other key persons:
Objectives: Harmful algal blooms in benthic system (BHABs) have been increased rapidly under the backgrounds of global climate changes and human activities. The detrimental effects of BHABs on marine coral ecosystems and human health make it one of the research priorities in HAB science nowadays. Toxins produced by some species of Gambierdiscusare associated with a seafood illness - Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP). From scientific perspective, the following key questions need to be answered: What are the biodiversity/distribution patterns of BHABs in space and time? What is the status of BHABs threat to coral ecosystems? How BHABs respond to the environmental changes? What are the possible relationships with the seasonal benthic community composition? What is the best suited of detection technologies that can be developed to support monitoring of BHAB and their toxins? This study intends to study the BHAB species assemblages at spatial and temporal scales and identify mechanisms underlying the community dynamics and their interactions with the coral reef ecosystems. A dataset on the biodiversity and toxicity of BHAB species, along with environmental parameters and health status of coral ecosystems, will be established for the investigated areas based on regular, systematic field-based surveys. By measuring the environmental variability and determining threshold levels of BHAB-related phycotoxins for developmental and behavioural endpoints of fishes, a holistic assessment of the ecological health risks that BHABs posed to coral ecosystems can be conducted. A monitoring framework could be developed for allowing a sustainable use of goods and services provided by the coral ecosystems. It is foresee that the outcomes of this study will be substantial in providing a reference towards an internationally research in BHABs.
* Training workshop “Applying analytical method for detecting ciguatoxin in fish”. Organized by IOC WESTPAC Toxic Marine Organisms (WESTPAC-TMO) at Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang from 5-9 April 2018. Responsible: Dr Leaw.
* Workshop on sampling methods, microscopic and molecular techniques of HAB species organized in Malaysia (8-14 July 2018) with financial support from the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)-Marine Fisheries Research Department (MFRD), in collaboration with IOC-WESTPAC HAB Program. The workshop includes lectures and hand-on training for research and monitoring staffs from fisheries agencies in Southeast Asian countries.
Implementation progress (October 2020): The project funded by Malaysia MOSTI International Collaborative Fund (ICF) has been successfully completed. The report produced at the end of the project is available here. Accomplishments of the project include improved artificial substrate method for benthic harmful algal blooms (BHAB) research, Coralnet (https://coralnet.ucsd.edu/) was adopted for BHAB microhabitat characterization, new evidence on the increase of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) risk at degraded reefs, confirmation of CFP case and vector fish, and several BHAB workshop and training courses conducted during the project.
P. T. Lim and C.P. Leaw, 2020. Benthic Harmful Algal Blooms Research in Malaysia. University of Malaya, Malaysia. 60 pp.