Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Assessment Plan for Texas Estuaries

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) pose a significant and growing threat to ocean and human health, namely through toxin production and the disruption of natural processes that are otherwise important for ecosystem health and human livelihood (e.g., nutrient cycling, oxygenation, fisheries production).  In freshwater and coastal marine systems worldwide, there are well-documented trends of increasing HAB frequency and severity over the past half century. 

This study will address two priority needs pertaining to HABs on the Texas coast, including:

  1. An immediate need to understand the evolution and drivers of K. brevis blooms and toxin production in estuarine environments where human exposure to algal toxins is most likely, and
  2. A longer-term need to develop a comprehensive HAB monitoring program and network in the Coastal Bend region of Texas that will ultimately serve as a framework for the rest of the Texas coast. 

This project is one in a series funded by the state Office of the Governor and administered through the Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence research consortium.