Modelling and prediction of harmful algal blooms, from event responses to multi - decadal projectionsInternal


Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: May 9, 2022
End Date: May 13, 2022
Host: Organisation outside EuroMarine
Venue: University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK
Website: Workshop Website
Contact: Keith Davidson
E-mail: habmodelworkshop [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2019 call for FWS and WG proposals
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee
Funds Granted: €7,500

Abstract submission deadline: November 14, 2021
Registration website:

The dates listed above have now been confirmed as of September 2021.

Abstract submission is now open for the GlobalHAB Workshop on Modelling and Prediction of Harmful Algal Blooms, co-sponsored by IOC-SCOR GlobalHABEuroMarine European Research Network, NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)  and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The workshop will be held at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK, 9-13 May 2022.

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are proliferations of certain photosynthetic organisms (including unicellular phytoplankton and phytobenthos, macroalgae, cyanobacteria, and particular ciliates) that can cause massive fish kills, produce toxins that bioaccumulate in seafood, and/or cause ecological damage through the development of hypoxia/anoxia and other habitat alterations. While HABs are natural processes that occur in all aquatic systems, there is a concern that the frequency and severity of HABs may be increasing due to a combination of natural and human-driven forces, including climate change. Over the last 20 years advances in technology, observation and modelling techniques have provided an avenue towards better management of HAB risks.

Modelling is a particularly essential tool for HAB prediction and management, however existing models still require a great deal of improvement in order to more thoroughly protect against HAB threats. Notably, the modelling of HABs requires better parameterization of the biological, physical and chemical processes of interest, as well as model validation. These improvements in turn require high-resolution sampling of the appropriate parameters, resolving small scales (e.g., thin layers in stratified systems, rheological processes at the micrometre-length scale), and sustaining long time series of observing systems that measure environmental forces in relation to HAB and plankton community response. In 2009 a major HAB Modelling Workshop was held in Galway, Ireland under Global HAB’s predecessor programme GEOHAB, which strove to addressing this need for improved modelling.

This GlobalHAB workshop, co-funded by EuroMarine, will evaluate how the field has progressed in the decade since the Galway meeting. Notably the scietists will look at the evolution of several different types of HAB models. The ones that have the most predictive power for short-term HAB forecasts are often site-and organism-specific. These models do not always give general biological insight and are the hardest to scale up to be used for producing scenarios for novel combinations of environmental conditions (e.g., under future climate or other anthropogenic change). However, modelling efforts focused on short-term predictive power can be complemented with analysis of positive ecological feedbacks or trait-based approaches that model phytoplankton community strategies instead of species. These approaches have the potential to generalize across many HAB species or populations. In any effort at generalization and upscaling, international coordination is fundamental for advancement.

    The workshop (postponed from 2020 because of the Covid pandemic) will combine oral and poster presentations, round-table discussions, and tutorials in order to 1) increase awareness of the range of modelling and observational tools that are in our community toolbox (or should be); 2) help the HAB community speak with one voice regarding climate-change impacts on the global ocean; and 3) help scientists and technologists develop creative approaches to meeting the needs of coastal communities, governments, and industry worldwide. Sessions will include:

    • Regional problem-solving: linking models, observations, and stakeholder needs
    • Emerging approaches and technologies: physical and ecological model methods and observational capacities that open up new directions in HAB prediction
    • Global patterns and global change: links between HABs and environmental drivers at large spatial scales and on long time horizons
    • Scalable solutions: applications of global models, remote sensing, and other communal resources to predicting HABs and managing their impacts in data- and resource-poor systems

    A priority for this workshop is inclusivity and balance in terms of national origin and career stage. We are able to waive registration fees and cover travel costs for a number of participants in support of this goal. Since the workshop is focused on discussion and small-group, informal interaction, it will not be possible to join it remotely, but we hope to make a number of presentations and other resources freely available online afterwards.

    Expected Outcomes

    There are four main targeted outcomes from the workshop:

    1. Education of the next generation of modellers in the range of tools in the community toolbox
    2. Development of multidisciplinary approaches to implement improved future monitoring systems
    3. Stakeholder knowledge exchange; Summary for Stakeholders document synthesizing the workshop
    4. Meta-analysis of long-term trends and predictions of future change

    Expected Impact

    The workshop will contribute to the development of safeguards against the future continued proliferation of HABs, helping to protect marine resources upon which a growing human population will increasingly rely.


    For more information and to submit an abstract, please see (If your abstract was accepted for the postponed 2020 version of the workshop it will be accepted again, but please re-register your interest at the link above.) Abstract submission closes 14 Nov 2021.