Data for the PNW HAB Bulletin include the abundance of the toxic diatom, Pseudo-nitzschia (PN) and its toxin (domoic acid) collected by ship from HAB hotspots, beaches in Washington and Oregon, and from coastal moorings. The direction of Pseudo-nitzschia transport from the HAB hotspots to beaches is influenced by coastal winds, upwelling or downwelling intensity, and coastal currents that are measured with high-frequency radars. A model provides information about the location and intensity of the Columbia River plume that can act as a barrier or facilitator for HAB transport to beaches. The PNW HAB Bulletins allow coastal managers to better protect marine mammal health and shellfish safety by assessing HAB risk in the Pacific Northwest. Specific actions resulting from the PNW HAB Bulletin risk assessments include marine mammal testing for toxin exposure and collection of additional shellfish samples (Dungeness crab, clams, and mussels) to protect human and marine animal health.
The PNW Bulletin was developed with more than 15 years of funding from the NOAA National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) sponsored research programs, Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) and Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB). Additional funding and support was provided by National Science Foundation ECOHAB program, NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative, the Centers for Disease Control, University of Washington, Washington State Department of Health, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Quinault Indian Nation, and Makah Tribe.