Determining Environmental Triggers of Harmful Algal Blooms and Toxin Production for the Purposes of HAB Prediction, Detection, and Management (HAP-PDM)

Grants and Contracts Details


Statement of Interest in Response to USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Broad Agency Announcement W912HZ-22-BAA-01: Aquatic Nuisance Species EL-35 Project Title: Determining Environmental Triggers of Harmful Algal Blooms and Toxin Production for the Purposes of HAB Prediction, Detection, and Management (HAB-PDM) Institutional PIs: Dr. Mindy Armstead (MU), Dr. Sandra Correa (MSU), Dr. Justin Murdock (TTU), Dr. Anna Linhoss (AU), Dr. Jimmy Fox (UK) Executive Summary: Collaborators at Marshall University, Mississippi State University, Tennessee Tech, Auburn University, and University of Kentucky are submitting this statement of interest in response to the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Broad Agency Announcement W912HZ-22-BAA-01. Herein, we summarize research initiatives that address elements of the NONINDIGENOUS AQUATIC NUISANCE SPECIES MANAGEMENT section, research area B, Aquatic Nuisance Species (EL-35.1). Specifically, we are seeking to develop environmentally sound mechanisms for the control of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in flowing waters including streams, rivers, and run-of-river reservoirs. The collaboration combines field work, laboratory bioassays, and modeling to better detect triggers for bloom formation, predict where and when HABs may develop, and provide information to engineer more robust biological and physical methods to manage HABs that do develop. The overall collaboration is referred to as HAB-DPM, for proposed research in HAB Detection, Prediction, and Management. Adverse impacts from HABs are notable at USACE managed sites that are either authorized for or support marine transportation, aquatic recreation, and water supply. The research envisioned by the HAB-DPM collaboration represents an extensive effort to maximize information gained in a short time frame and is reflective of both the urgence to the riverine HABs issue and the general lack of knowledge regarding HAB expansion into riverine ecosystems. This effort will help alleviate disruption of the aquatic environment, water resource uses, and of the economy in regions of the country affected by HABs. Problem Statement and Need. A harmful algal bloom (HAB) can be defined as the rapid growth of an algal species, which produces multiple deleterious effects on the local ecosystem (CDC, 2022). HAB impacts can range from unsightly algal mats, to odor and taste impacts on drinking water, to the production of powerful toxins which impair human and ecological resource uses. HABs can occur in freshwater, estuarine or marine ecosystems, and occur in all 50 states, with many instances becoming major environmental problems (EPA, 2022). They have significant human and environmental health effects, shut down drinking water supplies, interrupt tourism, and incur negative economic effects on industries that require clean water (Sulcius et al., 2017) HABs in riverine ecosystems are increasing in severity and frequency. Understanding riverine HABs is complicated because of complex hydrogeology, water quality, and biology. Though we understand the general conditions that support bloom formation (i.e., low flow, high temperatures, available nutrients), specific predictions of bloom timing and location are not well defined. We know even less about how to thwart bloom development, predict the extent of toxin production, reduce bloom duration, or effectively remediate blooms. The relationships of nutrients and other environmental triggers to HAB initiation and toxin production are still poorly understood, particularly in flowing systems, and bloom triggers are likely both habitat and species specific (Huisman et al., 2018). Therefore, a coordinated investigation of HAB ecology and physiology across multiple ecoregions is critical to improve models that can predict HAB occurrence and toxicity. There is a definitive need to understand the environmental triggers that initiate bloom formation and toxin production in riverine ecosystems, how upstream inputs influence HAB
Effective start/end date10/1/229/26/23


  • Marshall University Research Co


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