Algal Blooms

S. McGowan (Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) in marine, brackish, and freshwater environments are caused by a broad range of microscopic algae and cyanobacteria. HABs are hazardous and sometimes fatal to human and animal populations, either through toxicity, or by creating ecological conditions, such as oxygen depletion, which can kill fish and other economically or ecologically important organisms. HAB hazards have increased globally over the past 40. years, because of eutrophication, translocation of exotic species via global shipping routes, climate-driven range expansions, and altered physical oceanographic conditions. Human vulnerability to HABs is greatest in communities that are nutritionally and economically reliant on fishery resources, but locally HABs also cause damage to tourist industries and have health-associated costs. Major research advances have been made in the monitoring, detection, modeling, forecast, prevention, and treatment of HABs, which have helped to mitigate health and economic risks. However, reducing HAB incidents in the future will be challenging, particularly in areas where food production and human populations (and therefore nutrient fluxes) are projected to increase. A further challenge lies in adequate communication of HAB risks and providing effective institutional structures to prepare for and respond to HAB incidents.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiological and Environmental Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9780123964717
ISBN (Print)9780123948472
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotoxin
  • Climate change
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Dinoflagellates
  • Eutrophication
  • Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
  • Hazard mitigation
  • PSP


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