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Project Goals

The overall goal of this cooperative partnership is to establish a cost-effective monitoring program that will be led by state managers, environmental learning centers, tribal harvesters, and commercial fish and shellfish farmers. The SoundToxins program aims to provide sufficient warning of HAB events to enable early or selective harvesting of seafood, thereby minimizing risks to human health and reducing economic losses to Puget Sound fisheries.

The objectives of the SoundToxins program are:

  1. to determine which environmental conditions promote the onset and flourishing of HAB events or unusual bloom events,
  2. to determine which combination of environmental factors can be used for early warning of these events and
  3. to document unusual bloom events and new species entering the Salish Sea.

To accomplish this, seawater samples are collected weekly by the participants at 31 different sites throughout Puget Sound. These are analyzed for salinity, temperature, nutrients, chlorophyll, phytoplankton species, and marine biotoxins. Phytoplankton species diversity is described and the four target HAB species are specifically identified and enumerated. These target species are Pseudo-nitzschia species, Alexandrium catenella, Dinophysis species, and Heterosigma akashiwo.