Global Harmful Algal Blooms

PROJECT TITLE: Fostering transformative HAB sciences for societal applications

Type: The UN Ocean Decade Kick-off Conference for the Western Pacific and its Adjacent areas

Timeframe: November 25-26, 2021; Session 12, 1030-1230 (UTC+7, Bangkok time)

Principal Investigator name, title: Kazumi Wakita, PhD;  Po Teen Lim, PhD

Address: School of Marine Science and Technoloogy, Tokai University, Japan

                 Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya, Malaysia

E-mail: K. Wakita: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,

             PT Lim: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Other key persons: Mitsunori Iwataki (Asian Research Center for and Environmental Science, The University of Tokyo), Aletta Yñiguez (Marine Science Institute, University of Philippines)

Under the changing ocean environment with climate change, more frequent Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) has been observed and its geographical coverage has been also expanded. The HABs cause health problems and fish kills, which are risks for human well-being and sustainable seafood provision to the society. Mitigation and management of the impact by HABs to the society is a common urgent issue to address for sustainable development, which contribute to the outcomes of the UN Ocean Decade, namely “A Safe Ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards”. To mitigate shellfish poisoning cases and fish kills would also contribute to “A Productive Ocean supporting sustainable food supply and a sustainable ocean economy.” Furthermore, early detection and early warning of the HABs would promote “A Predicted Ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean conditions.”

HABs are natural phenomena with increasing frequency and occurrences in the region. Therefore, holistic understanding and measures based on multidisciplinary and even transdisciplinary approaches are important to address problems caused by HABs. Based on this understanding, the WESTPAC-HAB aims at promoting transdisciplinary HAB sciences under the UN Ocean Decade. Based on the strong natural science on HABs accumulated through long-time WESTPAC-HAB programme, transformative science would be promoted through effort of engaging various stakeholders to better address various problems caused by HABs. From the natural science side, understanding the biology and ecology of phytoplankton and identification of causative species including morphology among others is the basis for us to adequately address the occurrences of HABs to choose necessary measures for mitigation. To early detect and issue warning to the society, novel techniques such as meta-barcoding and DNA-based analysis are expected to be utilized. From the social science side, understanding social and economic impact by HABs to the society is the basis to adequately address problems. To develop and maintain monitoring system to be effective, analysis of social system including administrative structure and relationships among stakeholders, i.e., national and local governments as management and monitoring bodies, fisheries including aquaculture industries as producers of shellfish and fish, and citizens as consumers are necessary. Thus, engagement of wider stakeholders besides researchers are inevitable.

With the above backgrounds, this Decade Action Incubator “Fostering transformative HAB sciences for societal applications” will be a first step for the WESTPAC-HAB to start to generate transformative HAB science. It will cover cross-cutting issues of HABs and be the venue to discuss scopes and priorities of Decade Actions including possible resources in the WESTPAC region.



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