First Global Statistical Analysis of Harmful Algal Blooms

First Global Statistical Analysis of Harmful Algal Blooms

The first-ever global statistical analysis of trends in harmful algal blooms (HABs) has shown that, worldwide, there is no significant increase in HABs events, but that in some regions, events that include toxic species of algae affecting humans and wildlife are on the rise. “The 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested that the occurrence and toxicity of blooms will increase in the future,” said Hallegraeff. To better understand HAB trends globally and regionally, the research team analyzed data from a worldwide database of HAB events known as HAEDAT (Harmful Algal Event Database), which contains 9,500 records of blooms between 1985 and 2018. During the study period, aquaculture production worldwide rose nearly 16-fold, and the authors found that all regions with suitable HAEDAT data reported more events as aquaculture expanded. “Improving efforts to monitor specific locations and for specific harmful algal species offers the prospect of better HAB prediction in the long run,” said Hallegraeff.

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