April 12, 2008
The two day workshop will provide training to shellfish growers on collection, sampling and identification of phytoplankton, including those species that cause harmful algal blooms. Some types of phytoplankton can cause shellfish to become toxic thus making the consumption of the shellfish dangerous. Paralytic shellfish poisoning, or red tide, is the one of primary concern in Alaska waters. Appropriately collecting, sampling and identifying these microscopic organisms can help shellfish farmers better understand bloom dynamics as they relate to shellfish production. Relatively little is known about harmful algal bloom dynamics in Southeast Alaska and increased knowledge related to blooms may provide useful information to shellfish growers and harvesters.
Two nationally recognized researchers in phytoplankton monitoring will be presenting at the workshop. Steve Morton Ph.D., is from NOAA's National Center for Coastal Ocean Science Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, South Carolina and Vera Trainer Ph.D., is the Director of the Harmful Algal Bloom Program at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center, They will provide technical education of toxic phytoplankton identification and toxic algal cell filtering and enumeration.
In addition, Allison Sill, the Program Coordinator for the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) and Keri Baugh, a Fisheries Biologist in the Marine Biotoxins Program at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), will assist with the workshop.
UAS Ketchikan Assistant Professor of Fisheries Technology Kate Sullivan and UAS Juneau Associate Professor of Biology Ginny Eckert are co-hosting the phytoplankton workshop. Sullivan has been the primary faculty member for the Fisheries Technology program for UAS Ketchikan since 2004. Currently the Fisheries Technology Program has twelve students enrolled in the Associate of Applied Science degree program. Previously, Sullivan and Morton collaborated on a similar phytoplankton monitoring project in Maine.
Along with the educational opportunity that the workshop brings to the shellfish industry in Southeast, UAS Ketchikan will partner with up to six groups or individuals who are willing to collect water samples on a regular basis to monitor for phytoplankton blooms. UAS Ketchikan will provide equipment to growers. This pilot monitoring program: the Southeast Alaska Harmful Algal Bloom (SEAHAB) Monitoring Partnership, will provide continuing resources for monitoring as well as assess phytoplankton on a continuous basis as a means to gain a better understanding of HAB events in the region and their impact on the growing shellfish industry.
To find out how to register, contact the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan campus at 1-888-550-6177 or 1-907-228-4546.
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