Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms

Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

oceanography, marine biology

Coastal waters worldwide have experienced an increase in the occurrence of large concentrations of harmful algal species, now commonly referred to as harmful algal blooms (HAB). HAB species that contain toxins can cause direct mortality of marine life. Humans can be indirectly affected through the consumption of contaminated seafood. Large blooms of non-toxic species can also have negative impacts on aquatic habitats by shading benthic plants or by interfering with the activities of other organisms. Furthermore, if these algal blooms are not grazed or diluted, their decomposition by bacteria can deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water, causing the mortality of aquatic organisms and forming dead zones.

This program will study the environmental factors controlling the abundance and productivity of aquatic algae, the ecology of harmful algal species and the possible role of human activities in causing the increase of HAB. In addition, we will examine the efforts of scientists and government agencies to monitor HAB and to control their impact on fisheries and public health. The material will be developed through lectures, labs and field trips. In addition, there will be an independent project to learn about current research on HAB.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

biology, ecology and marine science.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$60 for day field trip on a boat.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Number

So - Sr (16 credits): 30093

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