[pccgrads] SAFS Seminar Thurs 11/12: Trainer (NOAA): Impacts of a massive harmful algal bloom along the US west coast in 2015

UW PCC uwpcc at u.washington.edu
Mon Nov 9 11:15:00 PST 2015

School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) Autumn Seminar

Speaker: Vera Trainer, NOAA

Thursday, November 12, 2015; 4:00 PM

FSH 102 (Auditorium)

Title: The impacts of a massive harmful algal bloom along the US west coast in 2015

Vera L. Trainer1, Ryan McCabe2, Barbara Hickey2 and Raphael Kudela3

1Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA, USA. E-mail: vera.l.trainer at noaa.gov

2School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

3Ocean Sciences & Institute for Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

In 2015, a massive bloom of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia, stretching from central California to southern Alaska, resulted in significant impacts to coastal resources and marine life. This bloom was first detected in early May 2015, when Washington closed its scheduled razor clam digs on coastal beaches. It is the largest and longest-lasting bloom in at least the past 15 years, and concentrations of domoic acid in seawater, some forage fish, and crab samples have been among the highest ever reported for this region. By mid-May, domoic acid concentrations in Monterey Bay, California were 10 to 30 times the level that would be considered high for a normal Pseudo-nitzschia bloom. Impacts to coastal communities and marine life include shellfish and Dungeness crab closures in multiple states, impacting commercial, recreational and subsistence harvesters, anchovy and sardine fishery health advisories in some areas of California, and sea lion strandings in California and Washington. Other marine mammal and bird mortalities have been reported in multiple states, and domoic acid poisoning is a suspected cause. NOAA announced an Unusual Mortality Event for large whales in the western Gulf of Alaska, as the mortality of nearly 30 large whales has been recorded since May 2015. While the HAB is suspected of playing a role, there is no evidence yet that links these deaths to HAB toxins. While the exact causes of the bloom’s severity and early onset are not yet known, unusually warm surface water in the Pacific Ocean may be a contributing factor.


Dr. Vera Trainer is the Supervisory Oceanographer for the Marine Biotoxin program at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle WA. Current research activities include refinement of analytical methods for both marine toxin and toxigenic species detection, assessment of environmental conditions that influence toxic bloom development and understanding shellfish susceptibility to toxins in their environment. She is president of the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae (ISSHA) and directs the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) Harmful Algal Bloom International project focusing on bringing sustainable methods to developing Nations for assessing seafood safety. Trainer is the lead investigator of the Puget Sound Monitoring Program for harmful algal blooms and Vibrio (SoundToxins). Dr. Trainer received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Miami, with postgraduate studies in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Washington.



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