NOAA announces funding for algal bloom research

A photo of a beach covered in seaweed

NOAA has announced USD 20 million (EUR 19 million) in awards for research on dangerous algal blooms and hypoxia.

"Harmful algal blooms and hypoxia affect coastal and inland waters and can be devastating to communities and businesses," Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Office Director Carl Gouldman said. "These awards are part of NOAA's ongoing commitment to advance our abilities to forecast, manage, and mitigate the effects of these events nationwide."

Algal blooms can produce toxins that kill fish and shellfish, damaging aquaculture and commercial fishing operations. When the blooms die, the biomass sinks to the bottom and removes oxygen from the water, further harming marine life. Algal blooms cost the U.S. economy millions of dollars every year by negatively impacting human health, recreation and tourism, and commercial fisheries, according to NOAA.

Of the USD 20 million (EUR 19 million), USD 14 million (EUR 13 million) was from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), which allocated the funding to “advance new methods to measure HAB toxin in seafood to prevent human illnesses, enhance HAB monitoring and response efforts nationwide, and improve our understanding of the effects of hypoxia – and potential interactions with other stressors – on marine ecosystems.” The money was spread across 36 awards, 15 of which were new.

The other USD 6 million (EUR 5.7 million) was from the IOOS Office. That funding included three new awards to “address ways to make fisheries resilient to climate change and advance HAB monitoring efforts” under the Ocean Technology Transition program and 10 awards to continue efforts to “advance HAB monitoring and research, improve models, and develop a forecasting testbed in the Gulf of Mexico” by the IOOS Regional Associations.

“Our ability to mitigate the impacts of HABs and hypoxia through early-warning and other approaches continues to improve, but changes in both global and regional climates have the potential to pose new challenges,” NCCOS Competitive Research Program Director David Kidwell said. “These grants will facilitate improved understanding and better decision-making as resource managers address the challenges of protecting both communities and ecosystems in a changing climate.”

Photo courtesy of NOAA AOML


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500