Every year many coastal states experience HABs that produce dangerous levels of natural
toxins that force public health officials to close valuable commercial and recreational
shellfish harvests and warn people away from popular bathing beaches. Toxic HABs
are also a common threat to marine mammals, fish and seabirds, including endangered
and threatened species, and often trigger costly rehabilitative actions and an outpouring
of public concern.
NCCOS maintains rapid response capabilities that help state and local coastal public
health and resource managers have ready access to critical data on the types of
HAB species and toxins that are present during a HAB event. The managers can then
make informed decisions that mitigate the impacts of
HABs on humans, coastal economies,
and the environment. These capabilities include the
Analytical Response Team and HAB Event Response Program.
NCCOS coordinates the
NOAA Analytical Response Team to provide rapid and
accurate identification and quantification of marine algal toxins in suspected harmful
algal blooms, marine animal mortality events, and human poisonings. The team is
comprised of early event listeners, event assessors, and a team leader responsible
of designing an event-specific solution. Responses are guided by the unique expertise
and experience of the team rather than a pre-designed response.
and analytical capability provides support for management agencies that can then
make timely and informed decisions impacting stakeholders involved in coastal wildlife,
human health, and commerce.