Gray’s Reef staff participates in phytoplankton monitoring workshop

Gray’s Reef staff and volunteers participated with the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension and Aquarium and Burton 4H Center staff and volunteers in a NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) Workshop on Friday, September 26th.

The refresher workshop, hosted by NOAA’s Center for Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research-Marine Biotoxins Program, included an overview of the expanding Citizen Science program which contributes water quality monitoring and harmful algal bloom screening from marine areas across the country, updated on volunteer data sourced by government organizations, and new initiatives presented by the PMN coordinators. An effort to include marine debris and interior watershed monitoring is being established at select sites and the program would like to include use of the UGA developed Marine Debris tracker app by PMN volunteers. The purpose of the volunteer driven program is to:

–Monitor and maintain an extended survey area along coastal waters throughout the year

— Create a comprehensive list of harmful algal species inhabiting coastal marine waters

— Identify general trends where harmful algal blooms (HABs) are more likely to occur

— Isolate areas prone to HABs for further study by Marine Biotoxins Researchers in effort to assist state managers in mitigating the affects of HABs

— Promote an increased awareness and education to the public on HABs

— Create a working relationship between volunteers and Marine Biotoxins researchers

— Increase the public’s awareness of research conducted by federal workers on HABs provide the data for researchers to investigate regional trends, provide notification to fishery managers concerning harmful algal blooms
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