Global Harmful Algal Blooms

PROJECT TITLE: Assessment of Risk of Benthic Life Stages of Toxic Dinoflagellates to the Seafood Sectors of New Zealand and France

Acronym: Cyst Risk

Scope: International

Type: Research

Timeframe: November 2016 to October 2018                                                                                 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kirsty Smith

Address: Cawthron Institute, 98 Halifax Street East, Nelson 7010, New Zealand

Tel/Fax: +64 3 548 2319

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Other key persons: Dr. Kenneth Mertens, Ifremer, ODE/UL/LER Bretagne Occidentale, Station de biologie marine, Place de la Croix, BP 40537, 29185 CONCARNEAU CEDEX, France; +33 2 98 10 42 82;; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Harmful algae blooms (HABs) negatively impact both New Zealand and French seafood sectors, with risks to both seafood exports and the health of recreational fishers. Many toxic dinoflagellate species develop blooms and have complex life cycles with a resting stage or cyst. Little is known about the direct uptake of dinoflagellate cysts into the food chain or whether it poses a health risk to seafood consumers. This two-year project will enable New Zealand experts to establish a collaborative relationship with French scientists at Ifremer and MARBEC who are experts in HAB cysts. The specific aim of this project is to identify benthic life stages of three high priority toxic dinoflagellate groups, namely, Alexandrium, Azadinium and Vulcanodinium. Cysts will be isolated from sediments around New Zealand and France. Cyst morphology, molecular genetic composition and toxicity will be determined. By identifying and establishing the abundance of benthic cysts beds in both France and New Zealand, predictions of blooms can be made and their likely risk to consumers assessed.

Cyst Workshop

Some activities: 

* A workshop (included picture above) on morphological and molecular identification techniques of toxic HAB species, led by Drs Mertens and Smith, was held in New Zealand (12-14 February 2018) to assess both morphological and novel molecular methods for cyst identification. It also provided training for those involved with monitoring programmes internationally (both for micro-algae and invasive species).

* A follow-up workshop led by Drs Smith and Mertens, to coincide with ICHA 2018 in Nantes (France; 21-26 October 2018) will ensure the transfer of expertise and uptake of methods internationallythe transfer of expertise and uptake of methods internationally.


Implementation progress (date):

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