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Understanding long term patterns in harmful algal bloom risks

23 January 2019
Dr Hayley Evers-King, from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, explains how ShellEye work is also providing useful information to support the wider aquaculture industry.
One part of the ShellEye project has been providing water quality information from satellite data to help shellfish farmers react to harmful algal bloom events as they happen. However, when collected over longer time periods, this data can also provide other useful information on long term risks for supporting the aquaculture industry.

Using 10 years of satellite data, ShellEye project scientists were able to create maps showing the number of times the risk of blooms of different harmful algal species was estimated from satellite data. The maps can be created over different time periods (e.g. for each week, month, or year, or for the entire archive). The maps were developed in discussion with stakeholders involved in the project to answer questions about how to define risk thresholds, whether the maps should show risk associated with specific HABs species or combined indicators, and what time frames it was useful to calculate risk over.

This has been a very useful exercise for both stakeholders and scientists involved in the project as it has helped both to understand what information is useful in different aquaculture related activities as well as what is possible using these satellite data sources.