PCMHAB 2020: Project Summaries
Investigators: Kaytee Pokrzywinski (Boyd), Kathryn J. Coyne, Yanfei Wang, Al Kennedy
Institutions: NOAA NCCOS, University of Delaware, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory
Blooms of the harmful dinoflagellate Karenia brevis are known to occur regularly in the Gulf of Mexico and present a major human health threat as they produce a class of potent neurotoxins (brevetoxins). Toxic blooms in Florida also have negative effects on the economies of coastal communities, often costing millions of dollars in lost revenue, with impacts extending over hundreds of square miles. Previous research investigated an algicidal bacterium, Shewanella sp. IRI-160, which exhibited algicidal activity against dinoflagellates, including K. brevis, while having no negative impacts on other algal taxa tested. PCMHAB-funded research indicated that this bacterium secretes water-soluble algicidal compounds, “IRI-160AA”, to control the growth of dinoflagellates without the requirement of direct bacteria-algae contact. Cell death of dinoflagellates was accompanied by inhibition to cell cycle progression, leading to autocatalytic cell death. Further research indicated the algicide is non-toxic to ecologically and economically important invertebrate and vertebrate species at levels required to kill dinoflagellates. In spite of promising results of prior research efforts, high-dose repeated application of the bacteria or cell-free algicidal filtrate may raise concerns about biosafety. Recent research conducted by co-PIs Coyne and Wang demonstrated the algicidal activity of Shewanella sp. IRI-160 and cell-free algicidal filtrate in alginate hydrogel (designated as “DinoSHIELDs”) as an effective alternative to the application of the algicide itself for inhibiting dinoflagellate growth. The advantage to using immobilized algicidal bacteria is two-fold. First, immobilized algicidal bacteria provide continuous in-situ control of HABs without the need for frequent, high-dose reapplication. Second, immobilized bacteria may be strategically deployed in areas that are experiencing, or at risk for, HABs, and then removed when no longer needed.
The overall goals of the project are to (i) optimize delivery of the algicide from DinoSHIELDs containing either the immobilized Shewanella sp. IRI-160 or cell-free algicidal product; and (ii) demonstrate the utility of this technology for continuous red-tide management. In support of this project, a survey of natural populations of Shewanella sp. IRI-160 along the US East/Gulf Coast will also be conducted to assess the potential environmental impacts of using live cells in this technology. Field studies will be performed initially in Delaware via in-situ mesocosm experiments and scaled-up for demonstration in small, protected embayments in Florida that are already considered impaired due to blooms of Karenia spp. Bubble curtains will be used in the Florida field study to prevent dispersal of the algicide beyond the treatment area without impacting navigation or threatened and endangered species. Microbial and dinoflagellate community dynamics, as well as changes to water quality will be assessed during these studies. Finally, a long-term field campaign will be conducted in Florida with no containment devices to demonstrate real-world applications. A major objective of this project will be to engage stakeholders and end-users in support of this technology. Social surveys and workshops will be conducted to assess the societal tolerance of using DinoSHIELDs. Successful completion of this work will provide managers with knowledge of the appropriate applications/uses of DinoSHIELDs as an environmentally neutral approach to prevent and/or mitigate dinoflagellate blooms.
Investigators: Clarissa Anderson, Rob Bochenek, Heidi M. Sosik, Stace Beaulieu, Raphael Kudela, Henry Ruhl
Institutions: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Axiom Data Science LLC, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of California Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) represent a major coastal hazard that can lead to closures of marine fisheries, disease and other effects on marine ecosystem structure and function, and direct harm to coastal community health and economies. Such phenomena have caused substantial economic losses to fisheries and tourism in recent years on the U.S. East and West Coasts and Gulf of Mexico. In the last decade, the ocean science community has developed several novel sensors and methods for monitoring and predicting a diversity of HAB events. These include the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB), the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), and various biophysical modeling systems optimized for HAB prediction. IFCB and ESP instruments are commercially available, have demonstrated efficacy for a range of HAB detection and study challenges, have a growing user base around the world, and are thus at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 8-9. At present, IFCB data systems lag behind at TRL 5-6. This project develops a national capacity to accelerate research to operations for HAB technologies and monitoring efforts so they can be better integrated into management tools, monitoring, and predictive frameworks, while also providing standardization of data collection, processing, interpretation, and archive. This will be accomplished through regional and national coordination, establishment of a HAB Data Assembly Center (HABDAC), and an effort to harmonize and mature existing technologies towards higher readiness levels in collaboration with partner IOOS Regional Associations (RAs). Specifically, the HABDAC will provide a centralized location for existing HAB data products, provide cyberinfrastructure for processing near real-time imagery and sampling feeds, host a common code repository for machine learning models and training data sets, and provide data science and data management support to research teams producing information products. An immediate need for this project is emerging in the California region with the planned deployment of seven new IFCB instruments, creating a total network of ten IFCBs, due to funds from CA Ocean Protection Council, NOAA IOOS, and NOAA ECOHAB. Given the establishment of a an unprecedented network, the existence of the long-running Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Alert Program (HABMAP) supported by the California IOOS RAs, and the California Harmful Algae Risk Mapping (C-HARM) predictive system, the project will focus its Demonstration phase on California and the phytoplankton from the HABMAP and IFCB networks. The Technology Transfer phase will be accomplished through workshops with the Transition Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC consists of a diverse team of collaborators and partners who represent the various technical and regional scenarios that will inform the development of a centralized HABDAC and a national integrated network. The HABDAC will ultimately be a centralized hub with two-way coupling to the regional data providers and regional management communities who rely on timely, highly synthesized information for decision-making.
Investigators: Sarah Bickman, Tim Davis, Greg Boyer
Institutions: LightDeck Diagnostics, Bowling Green State University, SUNY
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a significant threat to fresh waters globally.
Cyanobacterial HABs (CHABs) contribute to more than $2 billion in annual US economic losses and the estimated annual cost of CHABs in western Lake Erie (WLE) alone exceeds $65 million. CHABs necessitate routine testing to protect humans from exposure to contaminated drinking and recreational waters and for forecasting and modeling. Since toxin profiles change spatially and temporally there is significant need for rapid tests that can provide real-time, local answers.
Currently, the four toxins that are typically monitored in freshwater are microcystins (MC), cylindrospermopsins (CYN), saxitoxins (STX) and anatoxin-a (ATX-a). While commercially available semi-quantitative and fully quantitative field test kits exist for MC and CYN, there is currently no method of measuring STX in freshwaters in the field and only a semi-quantitative test strip for ATX-a. This is concerning as STX has been documented in freshwater sources in the US and worldwide and the frequency and distribution of STX-producing CHABs have been on the rise. Furthermore, ATX-a has been detected in WLE.
While these toxins have been detected throughout the Great Lakes, currently the only way to collect quantitative data for STX and ATX is to have the samples collected, and delivered to a laboratory for testing. The delay of laboratory analysis can unnecessarily expose people to toxins while testing is being conducted. Furthermore, performing multiple separate tests is time consuming, expensive, and occasionally necessitates making decisions that reduces the amount of testing. A rapid, portable multiplexed test would reduce the time and cost associated with collecting critical data while improving human safety by ensuring that all four toxins are always monitored.
LightDeck’s patented LightDeck® technology enables portable, multiplexed detection of toxins and has been demonstrated in a commercially available duplex MC/CYN panel. Here, we propose to expand this toxin testing panel to include tests for STX and ATX. This work is novel, as there is no commercially available portable freshwater test for STX, and there is no 4-plex test available for freshwater cyanotoxins. The 4-plex panel planned here would change the testing paradigms for freshwater by significantly reducing the testing burden and enabling rapid decision making to protect public-safety. The work plan is to develop STX and ATX-a assays, demonstrate adequate congener coverage and sensitivity and multiplex the assays into a 4-plex panel with MC and CYN. A field-portable method of lysing cells that produce these cyanotoxins will be tested. The 4-plex assay will be validated with certified reference materials and tested with cell culture extracts and natural water samples. Finally, a data management system will be developed to ensure data security as well as accessibility and transparency to all project PIs, students and transition advisory committee (TAC) members. Furthermore, all data will be archived at the NOAA National Center for Environmental Information, presented at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.
Investigator: Sarah Bickman, Stephen Archer, Greg Doucette
Institutions: LightDeck Diagnostics, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Shellfish aquaculture is a large and growing US industry due to customer demand and because shellfish are environmentally friendly, easy to seed, and immobile, making them an ideal aquaculture product that generates more than $260M in sales annually. However, as filter feeders, shellfish can accumulate toxins produced by harmful algal blooms (HABs) potentially making them unsafe for human consumption during and after HABs. When high toxin levels are detected in shellfish, harvesting is prohibited until the toxin is cleared and product is safe, causing significant economic losses for aquaculture. Closing and opening shellfish beds for harvesting requires frequent testing. The three toxin classes tested for most commonly are saxitoxin (STX), which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), domoic acid (DA), which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), and okadaic acid (OA), which causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP). A simple, low cost method of detecting these three toxins in a single sample will reduce the testing burden on the aquaculture industry while improving the safety of the nation’s food supply.
The National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) are the primary industry/regulatory cooperative bodies in the US and ensure the safety of shellfish through testing and by approving testing methods. The ISSC offers a process to achieve a designation of Approval for Limited Use for shellfish tests. The aim of this proposal is to obtain this designation for LightDeck’s triplex assay for the simultaneous detection of PSP, ASP, and DSP toxins in mussels.
The LightDeck triplex assay has demonstrated simultaneous measurement of all three of these toxins with the necessary sensitivity. Shellfish samples with toxin spikes have also been measured successfully. To obtain this approval, the ISSC single lab validation (SLV) protocol will be performed with mussels sourced from two geographically distinct regions that have historically measured all three of these toxins in shellfish—Maine and Washington State.
During Year 1, the extraction protocol for toxins in shellfish will be optimized and validated in comparison to LC/MS-MS and detection of the multiple congeners of PSP and DSP will be optimized. In addition, mussel samples will be collected and archived for future testing. During Years 2-3, additional mussel samples will be collected and archived and the ISSC SLV protocol will be performed using these mussels. This data set will be used to apply to the ISSC for approval for limited use of the LightDeck PSP/ASP/DSP Shellfish Test.
PI: Jason F. Huntley
Co-PI: Dragan Isailovic
Institution: University of Toledo-Health Science Campus
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur in eutrophic waters across the world and are characterized by large aggregations of naturally-occurring photosynthetic bacteria that release neurotoxic and hepatotoxic compounds (cyanotoxins). A variety of cyanobacteria, including Microcystis and Planktothrix, are known to release cyclic heptapeptide microcystin (MC) toxins, including MC-LR, into water bodies. Ingestion or contact with extremely low levels of MC-LR, in the part per billion (ppb) range, can cause a wide range of adverse effects in humans, including gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes, respiratory problems, and liver cancer. As such, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a MC provisional ingestion guideline limit of 1 μg/L (ppb) and in 2015 the U.S. EPA issued ten-day health advisory ingestion guidelines of 0.3 μg/L (ppb) for infants/young children and 1.6 μg/L (ppb) for all other ages. Municipal water treatment facilities have a number of treatment processes at their disposal to treat MC-contaminated waters, including chlorination, powdered activated charcoal, and ozonation. However, these treatment processes are expensive and generate waste products/byproducts that require additional treatment processes to mitigate. In previous studies, we selected for and isolated MC-degrading bacteria from Lake Erie. In addition, we demonstrated that these MC-degrading bacteria degraded MC-LR into non-toxic fragments, the bacteria formed biofilms on water-filter media, and inoculated sand filters (i.e., biofilters) removed MC-LR from contaminated water as it flowed through the biofilter. Given these findings, the objectives of this project are to: (1) Develop and test the ability of MC-degrading bacteria to function in MC detoxifying biofilters; (2) Test the ability of MC-degrading bacteria to degrade MCs from water treatment waste products; (3) Use next-generation genomic and transcriptomic approaches to identify MC-degrading enzymes from these bacteria; (4) Test the ability of recombinant MC-degrading enzymes MCs to breakdown MCs into non-toxic fragments. Taken together, MC-degrading bacteria in biofilters and/or MC degrading enzymes could reduce water treatment costs, provide safe alternatives to conventional water treatment processes, and could provide point-of-use (i.e., small scale) water treatment methods to remove MCs from contaminated water supplies.
Principal Investigators: Di Jin, Porter Hoagland, Ryan McCabe, Daniel Ayres, Matthew Hunter, Jan Newton
Institutions: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of Washington, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Project Summary: Along the Washington and Oregon coasts, fisheries for razor clams and Dungeness crabs have been impacted adversely by marine algae that produce the toxin domoic acid. The razor clam fishery is the largest recreational bivalve shellfish fishery in the region and a major source of tourist-related income to small communities along the coast, generating as much as $40 million in Washington and $12 million in Oregon annually. The Dungeness crab fishery is the largest commercial fishery in the area and a major employer in these coastal communities.
The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) Bulletin is a forecasting tool that provides information to managers in both states to facilitate their decisions to open and close the shellfisheries, including implementing delayed openings, selective harvests at “safe” beaches, and increasing harvest limits. The Bulletin has already helped to protect the health of tens of thousands of harvesters and consumers and provided guidance to managers about when and where Dungeness crabs should be sampled in the region. Although costs for maintaining the Bulletin and some of its associated data streams have been estimated, quantitative estimates of the net economic benefits of the Bulletin have never been conducted. It is critical to assess the net economic benefits of the Bulletin so that policymakers, funding agencies, other stakeholders, and the public can be assured of its value in decision-making.
This study will estimate the economic benefits of the PNW HAB Bulletin, using a methodology for quantifying the value of information. It is hypothesized that the forecasting program would lead to net economic benefits, and the scale of net benefits will be estimated to provide support for public investment decisions about implementing the program. This transdisciplinary study draws on economists and marine scientists as well as resource managers to carry out the following plan of work: (1) develop a deeper understanding of HAB impacts on these fisheries and coastal communities, (2) characterize the accuracy of the HAB forecast and define areas and fisheries impacted by the Bulletin, (3) identify and characterize response strategies of recreational and commercial fishers and coastal communities to management decisions made possible by the Bulletin, (4) develop a Bayesian decision model to estimate the benefits of HAB forecast, (5) conduct model simulations and sensitivity analysis, and (6) implement an effective outreach and education plan.
Investigators: Daniel Holland (NWFSC), Sunny Jardine (UW), David Kling (OSU, lead PI), James Sanchirico (UCD), Gil Sylvia (OSU)
Institutions: Oregon State University (OSU), University of California at Davis (UCD), University of Washington (UW), NOAA Northwest Fishery Science Center (NWFSC)
Summary: The Dungeness crab (D. crab) fishery is the most valuable fishery on the US West Coast. Concentrations of domoic acid (DA) in crab following harmful algal blooms (Pseudonitzschia australis) (HABs) can close areas to commercial and recreational crabbing. Recently HAB events have caused lengthy delays to the start of the commercial season, generating what are believed to be large economic losses and triggering federal disaster assistance. There is substantial public and industry interest in mitigation strategies that will enable effective adaptation. However, little is known about the relative economic merits of different potential mitigation strategies.
This research will develop an empirically-grounded, multi-sector fleet/processor Policy Evaluation Model (PEM) for the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery. The model will be used to assess potential economic benefits of three mitigation strategies: 1) finer scale monitoring and spatial management; 2) coast-wide adoption of zone-based crab evisceration orders, which are currently being applied in Oregon only; and 3) large-scale adoption of holding live crab in depuration tanks. Empirical work using data on past D. crab harvest sector behavior (landings and fishing location choice) will be completed to calibrate the model. This will allow for a realistic model D. crab landings supply under alternative management strategies. The landings supply model will be linked to a model of the processing sector. To understand output choices by processors–and price formation in the supply chain–an original West Coast-wide survey of the input costs and product form choices among D. crab processors will be conducted.
With the calibrated PEM, a rigorous economic evaluation of the expected net benefits of HAB mitigation strategies relative to status quo management will be conducted, including an assessment of associated uncertainty. For each of the mitigation strategies evaluated, two related questions will be studied. First, how does the relative value of mitigation change in future scenarios characterized by longer potential closures due to more prolonged crab toxicity levels? Second: how does the potential value of information (VOI) provided by forecasts or rapid within-season monitoring of HAB events depend on the mitigation strategies in place, or sector specific economic conditions?
Investigators: Tracey Dalton, Carlos Garcia‐Quijano, Di Jin, Peter Freeman
Institutions: University of Rhode Island and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
In recent years, the number, distribution, and magnitude of macroalgal blooms have increased globally, with consequent impacts on coastal system resilience. This is particularly true in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico regions, where blooms of free‐floating Sargassum spp. are resulting in pelagic, nearshore, and onshore accumulations that have become an increasingly persistent and severe nuisance. Building on core social science concepts in behavioral sciences, cultural anthropology, political ecology, and natural resource economics, this study will use a mixed methods approach to examine how Sargassum events and their mitigation in the Caribbean affect multiple dimensions of social resilience, including economic impacts, human wellbeing, local ecological knowledge, and individual attitudes, values, and behaviors. Specific objectives include: (1) Characterize the nature and severity of Sargassum events in the wider Caribbean; (2) Investigate human wellbeing, local ecological knowledge, and individual attitudes, values and behaviors associated with Sargassum events, primarily in US jurisdictions of the Caribbean; (3) Analyze economic impacts of Sargassum events, primarily in US jurisdictions of the Caribbean; and (4) Actively integrate local community members, resource users, and other relevant stakeholders throughout the project to ensure that results effectively transition to management applications. Findings from this study will directly address research priorities identified in the NOAA HAB Socioeconomics Funding Opportunity and benefits highlighted in the HARRNESS Plan.
Principal Investigator: Teri King Co-Investigators: Leif Anderson, Jerry Leonard, Jerry Borchert, Vera Trainer
Institutions: Washington Sea Grant, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Washington Department of Health
Washington State is a national leader in farmed bivalve shellfish, with an industry that employs more than 3,200 people in family wage jobs and contributes an estimated $270 million to the economy. The SoundToxins partnership was established in 2006 as a cost-effective monitoring program to provide an early warning of harmful algal bloom (HAB) events to Washington State Department of Health (WDOH) through weekly phytoplankton monitoring. SoundToxins has 92 participants, including commercial shellfish growers, tribal managers, agencies, environmental learning centers, and private citizens, who monitor HABs at more than 35 sites around Puget Sound. The early warning provided by SoundToxins has averted human illnesses from toxic shellfish that would have negatively impacted market and harvester confidence. This project objectives are to: 1. estimate the net economic benefits of the HAB early warnings provided by SoundToxins to aquaculture producers and WDOH, 2. evaluate net economic benefits to recreational shellfish harvesters. Management relevance: The benefits of the SoundToxins partnership to managers include: 1. helping the WDOH prioritize analysis of shellfish samples to areas identified as having the greatest HAB risk (through HAB cell counts), 2. preventing product recall by providing alerts to the WDOH via the 24/7 communication system ( email@example.com ) and 3. assisting shellfish growers and managers in avoiding costs associated with HAB events by allowing selective harvest, early harvest and depuration of toxic shellfish prior to harvest. Brief summary of work to be completed: We will use a combination of methods to estimate reduced costs to State and Tribal shellfish managers, and net benefits of SoundToxins to aquaculture producers and shellfish consumers: 1. a series of in-person company interviews and mail-in surveys with aquaculture companies and WDOH will be used to estimate the net economic benefits of SoundToxins to aquaculture producers and to characterize the extent of avoided costs due to SoundToxins monitoring, 2. data from a recreational shellfish harvest survey, completed in 2016, will be used to determine how SoundToxins benefits recreational harvesters. Interviews with DOH will be the important source of information to define the “counterfactual”, needed to quantify economic benefit in the absence of SoundToxins data, required for accurate development of the models.