The main goal of the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) monitoring program is to look for specific groups of phytoplankton that are known to carry toxins that can result in shellfish poisoning. Once these cells are seen, other tests can be performed that can ultimately advise the safety of shellfish consumption in the area. Monitoring phytoplankton also provides us with valuable baseline information on the bloom cycles in Kachemak Bay.
Over the summer, approximately 200 phytoplankton samples are collected from 12 sites around Kachemak Bay by community members and KBNERR staff. The samples are examined under microscopes. When potentially harmful algae cells are seen, we report our findings to state agencies, mariculture farmers, and many other stakeholders.
This program is funded by a State Wildlife Grant through Alaska Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are also supported by the National Phytoplankton Monitoring Network, part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We depend on training, expertise, and toxin testing from both the Charleston and Beaufort NOAA labs. Thanks to our volunteers for sending in water samples. Their work is valuable to detecting toxic blooms.
- Plankton Guides
- Plankton Tow Tutorial
- Toxin Testing
- Progress Reports
Please contact Rosie Robinson for more information on the Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring program, volunteering procedures, or opportunities.