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Phytoplankton Monitoring Network

Phytoplankton Diatoms through the_microscope
Phytoplankton diatoms as seen through a microscope

NCCOS runs the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) to link volunteers who monitor for marine phytoplankton and HABs in cooperation with professional scientists. We build a more informed public while expanding the reach and resolution of HAB monitoring. Over 200 PMN volunteers sample 140+ sites in 17 states and the US Virgin Islands. Since the program began in 2001, volunteers have reported more than 120 algal blooms and seven toxic events.

We use the data collected by PMN volunteers to better understand species composition and distribution in coastal waters, and to identify areas for further research and monitoring. PMN information has been used to validate HAB forecasts and nowcasts in Florida and Alabama. Through this program, we have alerted managers to previously undetected toxins in commercial shellfish beds, and the potential for human Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning and domoic acid toxicity in marine animals.

Visit the program website for more information.