Real-time Information About Harmful Algal Blooms

Real-Time HABs provides timely information on harmful algae in the Pacific Northwest. Measurements are made remotely and autonomously by an underwater robot, the ESP, and are available in near-real time in the ESP Now section. The ESP detects certain phytoplankton species that are known to be harmful at times, as well as the toxin that they produce. Toxic phytoplankton blooms can contaminate seafood and harm marine wildlife. These events are called "harmful algal blooms" or HABs. By detecting both the potentially harmful phytoplankton species as well as the toxin they produce, the ESP gives us early warning of these events.

A new tool is on the lookout for harmful algal blooms and their toxins off the coast of La Push, Washington. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) will monitor specific algal species and domoic acid, a toxin the algae produce.

"Harmful Algal Blooms" (HABs) can cause serious health and economic problems including injuries to marine mammals, human illness or even death and economic losses related to fishery failures and lost tourism revenue.